PDC Takes Part in Recreation Engagement Coalition Aimed at Growing $12 Billion Outdoor Recreation Sector in PA

This week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner joined Wolf administration officials and a new Recreation Engagement Coalition (REC) to kick off discussions on growing Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation sector. PDC Executive Director Julie Fitzpatrick, alongside PDC Board Member Silas Chamberlain and other statewide partners were honored to take part in the conversation.

“DCNR has made strategic accomplishments in the first seven years of the Wolf Administration and is intent on building upon that progress in 2022 and beyond,” Dunn said. “We have seen a tremendous interest in outdoor recreation over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as people have grown to appreciate the role it plays not just for our health and wellbeing, but also for our commonwealth’s economy. At the core of our priorities is ensuring outdoor recreation benefits all Pennsylvanians. I am eager to work with this advisory coalition to outline priorities for the outdoor recreation sector over the course of the coming year.”

Wednesday’s event at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence convened the REC, which is a part of DCNR’s efforts for Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania (GORP) will be primary advisers helping to build the commonwealth’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. Outdoor recreation adds $12 billion in value to Pennsylvania’s economy and 150,000 full-time jobs, accounting for
approximately 1.5% of the commonwealth’s GDP.

“Public lands are at the heart of outdoor recreation, making it critical that DCNR continues to focus on strategic growth and coordination to ensure the outdoors are welcoming and accessible to all Pennsylvanians and visitors,” Reigner said. “Convening this coalition and the GORP initiative is vital to growing and empowering Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy to better serve the commonwealth’s residents, visitors, and communities.” This office will be responsible for coordinating and synergizing among entities within and connected to state government to help align and support strategic initiatives, partnerships, policies, resources, and more. The goal of the office is to equitably enhance access to and participation in outdoor recreation, to support outdoor businesses for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians, and to leverage outdoor recreation for community and economic development and sustainability.

A list of REC members is available upon request. The coalition includes members from across Pennsylvania with local, regional and statewide influence and expertise in the outdoor recreation sector representing multiple disciplines.

“So much of what we do is influenced by the stakeholders across the commonwealth working to make a difference in their communities,” Dunn said. “We are grateful for such an active, engaged, and energetic advisory coalition that supports our mission, while also helping us improve our strategic initiatives.”

DCNR manages 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forests and is the primary funder of outdoor recreation development in the commonwealth. The department works with stakeholders to help with strategic planning for one of the largest expanses of public lands in the eastern United States that includes 6,200 local parks, more than 12,000 miles of trails, and more than 83,000 miles of waterways. Visit DCNR’s website for more information about the department and its mission.

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