By John A. Straitiff

With today being Thanksgiving, many of us will reflect on the things in our lives that we should be thankful for. I also ask you to be thankful for some of the things that make Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors region such a beautiful and special place.

Wildlife-Our region is blessed with abundant wildlife with elk, deer, bear, wild turkey, eagle, osprey, river otter, songbirds and many smaller creatures. We are also blessed to have many clean flowing streams and rivers that are teeming with fish.

Natural Beauty-From the towering ancient pines and hemlocks of Cook Forest to the many mountains and river valleys and vast Allegheny National Forest, the beauty of nature’s handiwork can be seen around every bend in the road or around every turn of the trail.

People-The people of our region are friendly and have an incredible work ethic. They welcome visitors with a smile, open arms, and a warm small-town America attitude.

Family Fun-There are so many things to see and do here. From events, fairs, and festivals throughout the year to stock car racing on weekends, and popular attractions like the Double Diamond Deer Ranch, Punxsutawney’s Weather Discovery Center, Farmers Inn, and Pierce Planetarium there are countless ways to experience fun with friends and family.

Rich History-The people and resources of our region helped shape and build a growing America. The region’s rich history can be seen everywhere. Helen Furnace, Ridgway’s Lily of the Valley, The Little Museum, Mount Zion Historical Park, Jefferson County History Center, and the Coolspring Power Museum are great places to start exploring local history.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind to be thankful for the PA Great Outdoors region. From everyone at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, we wish a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

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