SHAWNEE, Pa., Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today visited a Pocono Mountains region tourist attraction and learned about the many tourism initiatives taking place in the area.
The Poconos, the state's most tourism-dependent region, draws more than 24 million visitors annually. Fifteen percent of the area's labor force is directly tied to the tourism industry and five of the region's top 15 private employers are tourism- or hospitality-related businesses.
"Tourism continues to grow in importance across our state as people discover, or sometimes re-discover, our lakes, streams, forests and trails," Corbett said. "Partnership is crucial at both the state and local levels to make certain that we protect the Delaware River, which brings us not only recreation, but prosperity."
Before practicing his own fly-fishing technique on the water's edge, Corbett was briefed on the region's strong partnership efforts that work to protect and promote the area's unique characteristics through sustainability, conservation, community revitalization and recreational projects.
Educational presentations were given by several community leaders and featured the Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape Initiative, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and an overview of new trail opportunities in the region.
Through public-private partnerships, state agencies, local governments, community members and non-profits are uniting their efforts for the preservation and promotion of the Pocono Mountains.
"Here in the Pocono Mountains, there is a long tradition of defending the Delaware," Corbett said. "Because of that awareness, there is also a tradition of enjoying the waters, mountains, lakes and trails.
"We want clean rivers, lakes, skies and forests to leave to our children and grandchildren," Corbett said. "Each of us has a role to play in that cause. And if we all do, this region and this river will bring us not only prosperity, but joy."
These efforts to conserve, maintain and improve the landscape's natural assets have supported industries related to outdoor and cultural tourism in the Pocono Mountains. The landscape is critical to attracting visitors to the area and must be given the highest priority when balancing industry and the environment.
"Stewardship is in our own best interest," Corbett said. "The Pocono Mountains and the Delaware River Valley represent a huge economic engine in this region.
"We are in the midst of an energy boom and that's a good thing," Corbett added. "But we are also enforcing laws and regulations designed to assure us that this boom won't leave behind the pollution legacies of coal and steel."
Corbett was joined by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Rick Allan, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway and Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau President Carl Wilgus.
This is Corbett's second kayak tour this summer. Corbett kayaked the Allegheny and Conemaugh rivers in July; visiting Forest, Venango and Warren counties, Johnstown and Pittsburgh. The governor's kayak trips have become a tradition, beginning last summer when the governor promoted the importance of preserving and conserving our natural resources while traveling the Susquehanna River.
For more information on the governor's kayak trip, visit www.governor.pa.gov.
For more information about Pennsylvania's aquatic resources, visit Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission online at www.fishandboat.com.
For more information about state parks, visit the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
Find additional opportunities to explore Pennsylvania's many unique tourism assets at www.visitPA.com.
Media contact: Kelli Roberts, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor