Decker appointed to state outside recreation coalition | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

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Jim Decker

Warren County will be represented as the state seeks a vision for the future of outdoor recreation across the Commonwealth.

Jim Decker, President/CEO of the Warren County Chamber of Industry and a driving force behind the development of the trails at Jakes Rocks, has been appointed to the state as part of the Recreation Engagement Coalition “Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania” Effort.

“It is an honor to be given this opportunity to be directly involved in setting the focus and vision for the newly formed Office of Outdoor Recreation,” said Decker. “I look forward to working with colleagues from across the Commonwealth to shape the Office’s focus to ensure equity, efficiency and focus on the issues that relate to the continued development and expansion of outdoor recreation as a catalyst for affect economic growth here in Warren County.”

“While Pennsylvania is a national leader in outdoor recreation and our residents and visitors enjoy and benefit from our diverse and exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities, outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania has thrived without the benefit of coordinated and strategic statewide leadership.” Nathan Reigner, Director of Outdoor Recreation, wrote Decker a letter.

“To address this deficiency and ensure continued and growing economic, social, and environmental benefits from outdoor recreation, Pennsylvania is establishing an Outdoor Recreation Office.” the letter explains.

According to the Department for Conservation and Natural Resources, Reigner’s position was created this year and his role is “to expand and ensure the benefits of outdoor recreation for all Pennsylvanians as individuals, communities and a polity.”

He serves as “Liaison” among industry, nongovernmental organizations, users and government, according to DCNR, which cites data that Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the country.

Reigner quoted Deckers “Long-term interest in and success in leveraging outdoor recreation for the development of your community, and appreciation for the roles that planning, partnership, monitoring and adaptation play in that development, will help us, Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation, on the path to productivity and continue to drive success.” in seeking his participation in the coalition.

And Decker already sees collaboration as essential in this effort.

“Based on my experience developing the trails at Jakes Rocks, fostering collaboration between federal and state resources and programs is a critical priority, especially in our region.” he said. “The TAJR can be a model for developing public-private partnerships between local, state and federal entities and the private sector to make significant investments in outdoor recreation facilities without considering the physical property jurisdictions involved.”

The coalition will initially meet at the governor’s residence in Harrisburg on September 14, followed by meetings on October 12 and 13 in the State College area.

“Early engagement with government agencies at all levels and understanding their inherent timelines for such commitments is critical,” said Decker. “Government does not traditionally operate at the ‘speed of business,’ and frankly, cannot, so project planning needs to recognize and acknowledge that reality.”

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