The PA Parks and Forests Foundation, through the Gateway Community Initiative, created an infographic outlining the economic benefits of connecting people and businesses to the outdoors in Pennsylvania. Among the economic benefits included are--
-- State Parks Benefits: State Parks contribute $1.145 billion in sales and support 12, 630 jobs in PA;
-- State Parks ROI: For Every $1 Invested In State Parks, $12.41 of value added income is returned to PA;
-- Heritage Areas: PA’s 12 Heritage Areas support 25,708 jobs and contribute $2 billion to PA’s economy;
-- Lehigh Valley Open Space: In the Lehigh Valley, open space provides $355 million in water supply, flood control and habitat benefits;
-- Philadelphia Parkland: The 10,344 acres of parkland in Philadelphia saves more than $5.9 million in stormwater management costs;
-- Philadelphia Open Space: Protected open space in the 5-county Philadelphia area helped avoid $795 million in medical costs;
-- PA Wilds Initiative: The PA Wilds Initiative lead to annual visitor spending of $1.7 billion; and
-- SW PA Trails: The 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage Trail in SW PA generates $150 million in revenue annually and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in Pittsburgh attracts more than 822,000 users contributing $8.4 million annually to the local economy.
The card provides information about the miles of trails, natural benefits of open space, personal health, and the number of jobs supported by people visiting the outdoors of Pennsylvania.
Creation of the infographic/rack card is a part of The Gateway Community Initiative. This initiative is working to introduce visitors of state parks and forests to the region’s heritage, history, and businesses while connecting businesses to the state parks and forests in the region.
Beginning with the Ligonier Valley, an Action Team, including civic and municipal leaders and park and forest directors, assessed the community through the eyes of a new visitor. Many helpful tools were created including installation of new signage and an informational kiosk, development of a “rain and shine” walking tour, and an area reference map.
“Investing in open space and outdoor recreation makes good economic sense for Pennsylvania,” said Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation. “Not only is tourism the second leading industry in the Commonwealth, but clean water, clean air, health care savings, and stress reduction benefit all Pennsylvanians.”
The project, funded through a grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation, is currently working to identify other gateway communities across the state.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.
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