Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County, Pa., has been named Best in Culture by the American Bus Association, and more than 150,000 visitors in the first seven months of the year show that the public agrees.

Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, expresses her excitement at the designation.

“The amazing asset of the Kinzua Sky Walk attracts the motorcoach groups, but it is the programming presented by the staff which earned Kinzua Bridge State Park the designation of ‘2019 Best of the Best’ by the American Bus Association’s Destinations magazine,” says Devlin.

The state park was chosen out of nearly 100 entries from throughout the United States and was one of only 22 chosen in the Culture category. ABA will showcase Kinzua Bridge State Park in the September/October issue of Destinations magazine, a premiere guide to North America’s best group travel destinations.

The park is in good company. Others named in the culture category included the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Miss., Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., The Biltmore in Asheville, N.C., the Gettysburg Heritage Center, and the New York City Ballet.

Devlin says the number of visitors in September and October is always higher because of fall foliage season.

“In 2018, September and October, 79,865 visitors signed the visitor’s book at the Kinzua Bridge State Park,” she says. And she’s looking for that number to be higher this year. “I would say over 80,000 during the two months this year, as visitation continues to increase.”

The Kinzua Sky Walk is just one of the many attractions near the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania’s only National Forest, which offers more than 513,000 acres of public lands for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping or escaping into nature in a log cabin.

In 2011, DCNR created a skywalk utilizing six of the remaining towers of the historic Kinzua Viaduct after most of the structure was toppled by a tornado back in 2003. This gave visitors a view of the Kinzua Creek Valley Gorge below. In 2014, the Kinzua Skywalk was named one of the Top 10 Skywalks in the world.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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