Fulfilling a commitment made last summer after the annual Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally was downgraded from a national event to a regional one due to permitting and other issues, state and local officials met with event organizers last week to ensure the popular event’s full return in 2022.
“STPR is so important to this area, and I’m really excited about the progress we’ve made in working together toward the common goal of bringing it back in 2022,” said Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter). “It’s exciting for the folks who live here to participate or watch, and it’s great for our area economy to draw in folks from around the world who enjoy this very unique opportunity. I’m really looking forward to a great event this year!”
Last week’s meeting included officials from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, STPR and the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce, along with Owlett and Tioga County Commissioner Erick Coolidge. DCNR presented several good route options that STPR officials indicated would allow them the mileage they need to create the type of race drivers and fans expect. Permitting efforts are also underway for the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 16-17.
“While having to downgrade the race last year was very disappointing, it also showed us just how much this community loves and supports this event,” said James Monks, STPR chairman. “I’m encouraged by the spirit of cooperation at our meeting this week and really looking forward to making this year’s race the best one yet.”
“By selecting road-race corridors located away from forest areas that are typically used by traditional recreationists and sensitive aquatic ecosystems, DCNR is able to reduce recreation and environmental conflicts in the Susquehannock and Tioga state forests,” said Jim Hyland, district forester for Tioga State Forest. “STPR is a popular but non-traditional use of our forestlands, and we must be mindful of the impact it has on recreationists and our environment. With these changes, we are able to assure that the event can return in future years and meet the needs of everyone involved.”
STPR typically brings in thousands of people to the area to watch the race. They stay in area hotels, eat in area restaurants, and shop downtown, and many visitors are likely to return for other events because they enjoy the region so much.
“It was encouraging to see everyone come to the table with the goal of keeping this very important event here in our area and to do so safely,” said Coolidge. “The economic benefit to Tioga and other nearby counties is significant.”
Julie Henry of the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce agreed. “Many area business owners felt the impact of a smaller STPR event last year and are very hopeful for a full-size rally in 2022. It’s always inspiring to see what we can do for our communities by working together toward common goals.”