2018-01-20 / Front Page

LHR sets tourism goals for 2018


Holly Komonczi and Steve Manginell are part of the management team for the Pa. Lumber Heritage Region, which is based at the Cameron County Courthouse. The organization has expanded its outreach and looks forward to a successful new year. Holly Komonczi and Steve Manginell are part of the management team for the Pa. Lumber Heritage Region, which is based at the Cameron County Courthouse. The organization has expanded its outreach and looks forward to a successful new year. All signs point to 2018 being the year when the 15-year-old Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region (LHR) hits its stride, with some tangible benefits in tourist spending and historic preservation.

Goal is to advance historical and cultural initiatives that showcase the timber industry’s rich tradition through education, conservation and tourist promotion. One of twelve heritage areas in Pennsylvania, LHR encompasses the counties of Potter, Cameron, Elk, McKean, Tioga, Clinton, Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson, Warren, Lycoming and Forest, and portions of Cambria, Clarion and Indiana counties.

Director Holly Komonczi succeeded long-time director Mike Wennin in 2016 and set out to build on his successes. Steve Manginell, who served in the interim, remains on the management team in a marketing capacity.

Developing and implementing a new action plan has been a top priority.

“One of our primary goals is to get tourism sites prepared for an influx of new visitors,” Komonczi said, “including making additional parking available, adding restrooms and expanded operating hours.”

She has also been strengthening alliances with businesses, chambers of commerce, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, and a number of tourist promotion agencies.

“We need to be able to represent everyone involved with the lumber industry, from the loggers and those working at area sawmills to those who ship and sell the products,” Komonczi explained. “One of our biggest obstacles is marketing and telling the story of lumber so that visitors to the region understand its tradition and history.

An updated website was completed last August. It allows visitors to plan vacation or day-trip itineraries, take a simulated trip down Sinnemahoning Creek, visit local museums and tour historic Civilian Conservation Corps camps.

Other features include current events, industry job postings, and historical archives. Meanwhile, LHR has significantly increased its social media footprint.

One successful LHR initiative has been a grant program to support projects ranging from signs on the West Creek Recreation Trail in Emporium and chainsaw carving displays on the square in St. Marys, to a bird-viewing station at the Kinzua Dam.

This past year, LHR received a $210,000 state grant from the DCNR, more than double its 2016 allocation. Contributions are also being solicited from partners in the private and public sectors.

Operating out of an office in the Cameron County Courthouse, LHR has scored numerous high-profile successes: acquiring and preserving high-quality glass negative photographs depicting pioneer lumber-related activities in Pennsylvania; acquisition of a rare, authentic railroad locomotive and a Model-T Ford for the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Potter County; lasting commemorations for the Civilian Conservation Corps in the region, and many more.

Return to top