Local Business Relies on Leigh Gorge State Park for OperationsDecember 23, 2020
Family owned and operated for over forty years, Pocono Whitewater in Jim Thorpe is a must- visit for a recreation enthusiast. Not only can they lead you on exciting whitewater rafting trips of various lengths and difficulties. They will also set you up for a perfect bike ride, or day on the paintball course. Pocono Whitewater is unique because not only is it located near Leigh Gorge State Park; it operates within the parks boundaries. All but one of their rafting course go through the park, and the entirety of their rail trail biking excursions are within the park.
Like most businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic had its effect on Pocono Whitewater, while state safety regulations had their rafting trips running at limited capacity – they were mostly reaching that capacity. Director of marketing, Nikki Hurley told us they saw an increase in mid-week traffic this year and it was clear people were looking to be outside. They are thankful to have the Leigh Gorge as a business ally. “Having park access and our brand within the park is important to people. It has a large impact because visitors know the park is regulated and adhering to state guidelines, [regarding COVID-19] they know it’s a safe place to go for recreation.” Said Hurley.
As visitation and park use continues to grow, the staff at Pocono Whitewater know how important consistent funding for state parks and forests is to their continued longevity. “Guests want the park to be clean and maintained, and that a park ranger is on hand to help.” Said Hurley. “Locally they do a really good job maintaining trails, keeping the park clean, and having rangers visible day to day.”
Without a well-maintained park, Pocono Whitewater could not operate, the mutually beneficial relationship between park and business highlights the economic benefit state parks and forests have on the commonwealth.