The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is providing first-time campers with needed gear and a reservation for two nights at a participating state park for just $20.
“This is the fifth year we are offering this hands-on instruction on camping,” DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “You can’t beat this offer as far as the cost. Campers get the opportunity to enjoy many other activities at our state parks such as hiking and fishing, and a park staffer even will help them set up camp.”
Twelve state parks around the state are participating in the program. They are: Black Moshannon, Centre County; Colonel Denning, Cumberland County; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Hills Creek, Tioga County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; Locust Lake, Schuylkill County; Ole Bull, Potter County; Promised Land, Pike County; R.B. Winter, Union County; Ryerson Station, Greene County; Sinnemahoning, Cameron and Potter counties; and Tobyhanna, Monroe County.
Reservations should be made by calling the park office directly. The program runs from Memorial Day weekend through the summer.
Gear provided for use by DCNR includes a four-person tent; rain tarp; four sleeping pads; four camp chairs; flashlight; lantern; camp stove; and four hot dog/marshmallow sticks. All items must be returned upon departure.
Participants need to bring their own food, cooking utensils and bedding. Suggested packing lists will be provided.
“Our love of nature often begins in our childhood if we have the opportunity to connect with the outdoors,” Dunn said. “We especially encourage parents to take advantage of this affordable opportunity to create some wonderful family memories.”
Last summer, in the program’s fourth year, there were over 80 reservations made to participate, with over 260 people experiencing camping in a state park for the first time.
With 120 state parks covering about 300,000 acres, there is a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian. The parks feature an array of recreational opportunities, provide a forum for multiple environmental education programs and conserve thousands of acres of unique natural areas, among many other features.
State parks also serve as economic generators to the communities surrounding them, generating about a billion dollars annually in economic activity.More information about Pennsylvania state parks can be found at the Visit PA Parks website.