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Poconos: A hot spot for summer

Bob Plumb of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission holds up a T-shirt that he will give to any kid on Lake Wallenpaupack wearing a life jacket.
TRR photo by Isabel Braverman

By Isabel Braverman
May 28, 2014

HAWLEY, PA — The Pocono Mountains are a huge tourist destination in the summer, according to the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB), which held a press conference on May 22 at which Carl Wilgus, its president and CEO, announced the schedule for the busy upcoming summer season. Events will include the Hospitality Scholarship Golf Tournament, Bike Train Weekend, NASCAR/IndyCar race, and summer concerts and festivals.

Wilgus said this past Memorial Day weekend was the busiest the region has seen in 10 years and that it won’t slow down all summer. Now that the economy has turned around, he said, more visitors are coming to the area, which is only a “two-tank trip” from places like New York City.

A staggering number of people come to the four-county region each year: 25 million. Many of the people, 11%, come for the outdoors, which is twice the national average. The tourism industry also generates a lot of income for the area. It’s a $3 billion industry that employs 34.9% of all workers in the Pocono Mountains.

Harold Luther from Cabela’s announced that Cabela’s is donating fishing poles to the Visitors Center at Lake Wallenpaupack for its loaner program. Anyone can come and use a fishing rod to fish on the lake. Luther said the program is to “introduce people to the outdoors” and once you try it, “you’ll be hooked.”

Bob Plumb from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission talked about water safety. He wore a life jacket as he spoke about the importance of wearing one on the water, whether you’re boating or swimming. He announced the T-shirt contest that encourages kids to wear life jackets. If Plumb and other rangers see kids out on the water wearing a life jacket, they’ll give them a T-shirt that says “I got caught wearing my life jacket.” Plumb said he wants all visitors to Lake Wallenpaupack to leave safely and alive. He said, “We want them to remember having a good time in the Poconos.”

Finally, Keith Williams, the manager of the Visitors Center announced the Cast for Cash fishing contest. Tagged fish will be released into Lake Wallenpaupack. Catch one of 49 fish and you can win a cash prize, with a minimum of $100 and the grand prize of $5,000. Other prizes are available such as stays at resorts or gift cards. The contest is open until September 30, including on the Fish for Free Day on July 4. All participants must pre-register on the website; all fishing regulations apply. Visit www.wallenpaupackwatershed.org for complete official rules and registration.

What are the Poconos?
The Pocono Mountains cover 2,400 square miles of mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and woodlands in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, encompassing Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties.

The origin of “Pocono”

Pocono is a Native American word meaning “stream between two mountains.” The Delaware Water Gap is the true namesake for the area where the Delaware River cuts a gap between two mountains and formed what is now known as the “Gateway to the Pocono Mountains.”