DCNR Declares Recreation Engagement Coalition Aimed toward Rising $12 Billion Outside Recreation Sector in PA

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Harrisburg, Pa — Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Cindy Adams Dunn, and Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation, Nathan Reigner, today joined representatives from the Wolf Administration and a new Recreation Engagement Coalition (REC) to hold talks on begin the growth of the outdoor recreation sector in Pennsylvania.

“DCNR has made strategic achievements in the first seven years of the Wolf administration and intends to build on those advances in 2022 and beyond,” said Dunn. “We have seen tremendous interest in outdoor recreation during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as people increasingly appreciate the role it plays not only in our health and well-being but also in our Commonwealth’s economy. At the heart of our priorities is ensuring that all Pennsylvanians benefit from outdoor recreation. I look forward to working with this advisory coalition to set priorities for the outdoor leisure sector over the coming year.”

Wednesday’s event at the Pennsylvania Governor’s residence convened the REC, who is part of DCNR’s effort for Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania (GORP) and will serve as principal adviser to help establish the Commonwealth’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. Outdoor recreation contributes to Pennsylvania’s economy and 150,000 full-time jobs, which is approximately 1.5% of the Commonwealth’s GDP and is worth $12 billion.

“Public land is at the heart of outdoor recreation, which is why it is critical that DCNR remains focused on strategic growth and coordination to ensure the outdoors is welcoming and accessible to all Pennsylvanians and visitors,” said Reigner. “The convening of this coalition and the GORP initiative is critical to the growth and strengthening of Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy to better serve Commonwealth residents, visitors and communities.”

This office will provide coordination and synergy between entities within and connected to state government to help align and support strategic initiatives, partnerships, policies, resources and more. The office’s goal is to equitably improve access to and participation in outdoor recreation, support outdoor businesses for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians, and use outdoor recreation for community and economic development and sustainability.

A list of REC members is available online (PDF). 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 stakeholders across the Commonwealweal working to make a difference in their communities,” said Dunn. “We are grateful for such an active, committed, and empowered advisory coalition that supports our mission while 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 public areas in the Eastern United States, encompassing 6,200 local parks, more than 12,000 miles of hiking trails and more than 83,000 miles of waterways. Visit DCNR’s website for more information about the department and its mission.

Video and photo of the announcement are available via PAcast.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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