Wednesday, October 14, 2020

State Parks Continue To Break Visitor Records In September: 4.7 Million Visitors, Up 31 percent Over Last Year

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
reports September visitors again broke all records increasing 31 percent over last year-- 4.7 million compared to 3.6 million last year-- an over 1.1 million increase.

Eight parks experienced over a 100 percent increase-- Denton Hill State Park (746.7 percent), Cherry Springs State Park (230.6 percent), Patterson State Park (168.6 percent), Hickory Run State Park (136.5 percent), Susquehannock State Park (127 percent), Tobyhanna State Park (114.8 percent), Kooser State Park (111.8 percent) and Cowans Gap State Park (109.8 percent).

An additional 23 parks have attendance increases over 50 percent.

Click Here for the September figures.

DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee in September-- campgrounds have been fully booked weeks in advance and some parks reach their capacity by 10:00 a.m.

DCNR has also had to address overcrowding issues by adding staff and encouraging visitors to explore less-busy parks and forests.

“Anyone can visit a state park for free, and DCNR believes it should stay that way to ensure that every Pennsylvanian can enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature regardless of their financial situation.

“Increased outdoor recreation is boosting Pennsylvania’s economy, and will be crucial to the state’s financial recovery.

“Annually, outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania generates $29 billion in consumer spending and $1.9 billion in tax revenue while directly supporting 251,000 jobs.” Read more here.

And the PA Environmental Council reported earlier in this year trail use was up 52 percent, with some trails experiencing a 100-200 percent increase.  Read more here.

The pandemic may have pushed people outside, but many have found a new love for nature and an appreciation for the local, regional and state recreation facilities Pennsylvania offers.

State Park & Forest Needs

Even before the crush of visitors this year, state parks and forests had a backlog of over $1 billion in safety and infrastructure repairs, according to a report by the PA Parks and Forests Foundation.  Read more here.

Unfortunately, more than $2.93 billion in environmental funding for DEP and DCNR for environmental and conservation programs has been cut or diverted to other purposes over the last decade.  Read more here.

Poll Shows Overwhelming Support

A new poll taken in September shows 90 percent of Pennsylvania voters want Senate and House members to address environmental and conservation priorities and provide more funding for critical programs like parks and recreation.  

Nearly 85 percent of voters say the ongoing pandemic has made open spaces and parks more important than ever.

And when informed the state is facing a four-billion-dollar shortfall that will necessitate budget cuts, just 13 percent of Pennsylvania voters report preferring cuts to conservation and environmental protection priorities, as 62 percent report preferring cuts to other items in the budget. Read more here.

Recreation Near You

Visit the Get Outdoors PA and the Explore PA Trails websites to learn more about recreation opportunities near you.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Related Article - Visitor Increase:

-- State, Regional, Local Outdoor Recreation ‘Through The Roof’ Across Pennsylvania

Related Articles - Budget:

-- Analysis: 2020 Is A Make Or Break Year For Environmental Funding

-- House Speaker Cutler: Republicans Will First Raid Dedicated Funds To Balance Budget In November

-- House Republicans Pass Bill To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts, Local Parks, Farm Conservation, Watershed Restoration Projects; Will Hurt Local Economies

-- House Republicans Moving Bill To Reallocate Keystone Fund, Damage Vitality Of PA’s Outdoor Economy

-- Analysis: Why Republican Freeze On Funding For Local Parks, Trails, Farm Conservation, Mine Reclamation, Recycling Is Bad For The Economy, Communities, The Environment

[Posted: October 14, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner