BOILING SPRINGS — Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of State for Conservation and Natural Resources, Neil Weaver, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, and Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, visited the TCO Fly Shop in Monday Boiling Springs, Cumberland County, to emphasize the importance of outdoor recreation to the economy and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.
“There is no doubt that being active and being together outdoors has gotten many people through the pandemic, and these experiences have reminded us what we already knew – that outdoor recreation plays a huge role in our health and well-being,” said Dunn. “There is also no doubt that outdoor recreation plays a big part in Pennsylvania’s economy. We are fortunate to have an abundance of public lands, bodies of water, and energetic entrepreneurs who, combined with Pennsylvanians’ love of nature, have created a great environment for outdoor recreation businesses.”
Dunn noted that DCNR hired Pennsylvania’s first director of outdoor recreation, Nathan Reigner, earlier this year to ensure the outdoor recreation sector is supported, thrived and welcomes all through equitable access, investment, conservation, collaboration and business means development. Reigner will work with those who maintain and manage the lands, waters and facilities used for these activities; and the institutions, organizations, services and businesses that support and enable outdoor recreation.
“The appointment of Nathan Reigner is a huge step forward for outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania. His leadership will be invaluable in growing the state’s outdoor recreation economy, supporting rural economies and improving accessibility for all residents and visitors,” said Jessica Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.
Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the country.
“From mountains to lakes and everything in between, Pennsylvania has outdoor activities for everyone,” Weaver said. “Each region and season offers many activities for residents and visitors alike, and many cities see economic benefits from tourism each year. With so many wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities and our prime Northeast location, it’s no wonder so many businesses are choosing to plant their roots in Pennsylvania.”
Located on Children’s Lake and the Appalachian Trail, the TCO Fly Shop offers fly fishing gear, clothing and guides, and hiking and trail supplies.
“Here at TCO, we have seen significant growth in the outdoor enthusiast market during the pandemic. Fly fishing in particular has grown in popularity over the last 2-3 years,” said TCO President Tony Gehman. “We believe that in such a fast-moving modern world, nature is calling to all of us in different ways than ever before. In our forests and on our rivers, people have found a way out of their everyday problems. As we continue to welcome new anglers to fly fishing, we are more excited than ever for the future of our sport and resources here in Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania waters offer excellent fishing. In 2021, more than 920,000 anglers purchased a fishing license, marking an ongoing resurgence in the popularity of fishing and boating as affordable, family-friendly outdoor pursuits.
“Communities that encourage fishing and boating and invest in better public access to water reap incredible social and economic benefits,” Schaeffer said. “Each year, recreational fishing generates an estimated $721 million in economic impact statewide, while water sports such as power boating and paddle boarding contribute an estimated $6 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy annually.”
For more information about the Director of Outdoor Recreation, visit the DCNR website; Discover travel tips on visitpa.com; or learn more about fishing basics at the Fish and Boat Commission website.