About

A NETWORK FOR GOOD

WHO WE ARE

WHAT WE DO

HOW TO JOIN

FAQs

Simply click one of the four headings above to jump ahead to that section.

WHO WE ARE

WE are the Wilds Cooperative of PA (WCO), a value chain network of more than 350 creative entrepreneurs, organizations and communities based in the PA Wilds, a premier outdoor recreation destination.

Together, we are addressing PA Wilds market demands by connecting and scaling the unique establishments and producers that are central to our place-based tourism development.

As we help people find #pawildsmade products, services and experiences, our businesses and communities grow and thrive. (Learn more about what the WCO brand stands for here.)

OUR SHARED OPPORTUNITY

We know there is power in a place-based brand -- and the PA Wilds is ours. The PA Wilds brand is rooted in our region’s rural maker culture, public lands and conservation legacy, and it seeks to celebrate and nurture our natural wonders by connecting people with nature. Our values uplift charm, not chain. We steward our places -- the communities and wild spaces around us, and this attracts visitors and residents, ultimately creating lasting economic benefits in our rural region.


The outdoor recreation economy is a viable industry, generating $887 billion annually in the United States. In the PA Wilds, tourism is a $1.8 billion industry — and that number continues to grow. Let’s continue to find ways to increase our share of the tourism economy.

LEARN ABOUT OUR PLACE-BASED BRANDREAD OUR BRAND PRINCIPLES

WHAT WE DO [FOR YOU]

In addition to joining a growing network of peer businesses and organizations, WCO members receive access to branding and marketing tools, networking and education opportunities, new markets and product lines, and mentorship and referrals to PA’s financial and technical service programs.

Our network is managed by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) provides administrative support.

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

I have a very small business that started out just as a labor of love and a way of living…. Since finding out about the PA Wilds and joining, my business has grown quickly. Within the first two months, I tripled what I was able to sell.  My products are now available across PA, something I was able to do because of the Wilds Cooperative.

Tara Heckler

Owner, Blackberry & Sage Market

My photography and video business has gained an immeasurable amount of exposure and new, actual job-yielding business relationships due to the bright efforts and successful implementation of the PA Wilds Cooperative programs.  My business would not be where it is today without their services and guidance.

Tracy Smith

Owner, Sixty Foot Films

HOW TO JOIN

If you, your business or your organization makes a product, offers a service, or provides an experience in the PA Wilds,
then we want to hear from you.

BEFORE APPLYING

Review our member eligibility requirements and other guidelines before applying to be sure you’re a fit.

APPLY TODAY

Ask yourself what is the primary aspect of your business or organization and apply today!

CREATIVE MAKERS

Icyy Ink Screen Printing

Do you make food, craft or visual art in the PA Wilds that is inspired by our region’s beauty, bounty and rural traditions?

EXPERIENCE MAKERS

Art in the Wilds

Do you operate a place-based business or organization that offers an experience to visitors and residents?

RESOURCE PARTNERS

PA Wilds Conservation Shop

Does your business or organization offer a service or resource — technical, business development, environmental, or otherwise?

FAQs

What the WCO stands for

The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania name captures the spirit of place and partnership upon which the program is founded and operates. It evokes an aspirational “of the people, for the people” feeling, where grassroots, homegrown, organization, and commerce all intersect, and welcomes and inspires collaborators and investors for the long-run.

The ‘Made By Hand’ brand reflects the relationship among our artisans, the high-quality products they create, and the unique core values they represent as residents of the Pennsylvania Wilds. These elements include: tradition, authenticity, natural products, environmental sensitivity, attention to detail, cultural values, quality, and craftsmanship.

Our history

The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, originally named the Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trail, was initially imagined as a way to grow the nature and heritage tourism industry in the Pennsylvania Wilds by promoting the region’s unique artisan wood products, and tying them to the regional PA Wilds brand. The opportunity, however, was much greater. The PA Wilds is home to an impressive and diverse community of skilled artisans, craftspeople, and producers working across a variety of media. In the 2007, following the Artisan Development Initiative economics study, the PA Wilds Artisan Trail program was born. In 2015, the program was relaunched as the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania to better reflect its growing membership and mission.

How we're organized

The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania is a program of the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship Inc. (PA Wilds Center), a 501(c)(3) regional nonprofit. Program development guidance is provided by a volunteer Advisory Committee comprised of program members and other stakeholders. Staff support for the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania program is provided through a partnership with Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA).

Our philosophy

Our creative artists and entrepreneurs influence our regional brand and visitor experience in a unique way. We are proud to be building one of rural PA’s largest networks of creative entrepreneurs, to help them network and learn from each other, and to bring products to market that reflect our region’s natural beauty, bounty and rural traditions, while giving an economic boost to our communities and enhancing their unique character.

Submit a question

Still looking for information about the Wilds Cooperative of PA? Submit an inquiry by emailing wildscopa@pawildscenter.org.

READY TO EXPLORE MORE?

ABOUT US

Learn more about the WCO, our place-based network of creative entrepreneurs and organizations.

OPPORTUNITIES

Take advantage of opportunities to leverage the PA Wilds brand and grow your business.

TOOLS

Find more tools and resources related to WCO membership and growing your business.