What's the second-largest industry in Pennsylvania? It's tourism, now expected to take the top spot away from farming by the turn of the century. But Pennsylvania officials who attended a recent Harrisburg conference on tourism weren't entirely optimistic about the future. Neither are we, but there's still time to act on the concerns raised there.
Pennsylvania tourism executives fear that the same problem Maryland's governor is battling - suburban sprawl development - will ruin the state's scenic beauty even as it encourages citizens to abandon the cities. Conference attendees noted Pennsylvania has an additional handicap Maryland doesn't - the large number of municipal governments, each with its own agenda, making cooperation difficult to achieve.
"Difficult" is not necessarily impossible, but success will require citizens committed to preserving the state's scenic attractions, citizens with the will to pay for preservation efforts.
The last is most important because for every tourism official who came to Harrisburg complaining about the proliferation of strip shopping centers, there's a property owner back home ready to make a buck by developing his or her land. To deny property owners use of their land to preserve a scenic landscape without compensation is not only unfair, but unconstitutional as well.