Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pennsylvania’s First Conservationists: Hunters & Anglers; Celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day And Public Lands Day Sept. 26

Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission are pleased to join with other fish and wildlife conservation agencies across the country to recognize September 26 as National Hunting and Fishing Day!

September 26 is also National Public Lands Day to celebrate the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits.

National Hunting & Fishing Day

"National Hunting and Fishing Day provides each of us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of conservation, and for hunters, trappers and anglers, it's one more reason to celebrate our conservation heritage and share time outdoors with others," Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said.  "With millions of acres of public land to hunt and trap, and 86,000 miles of streams and 4,000 lakes and ponds to fish, Pennsylvania truly is a leader in conservation and sporting opportunity.  With hunting seasons heading into full swing, many more opportunities are just around the corner."

"As Pennsylvanians, we enjoy quality, year-round fishing opportunities in every corner of the state," said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director.  "Whether you enjoy casting a line on your favorite trout stream, motoring or paddling on our beautiful rivers and lakes for big bass, testing your skill with Steelhead or Muskies, or the solitude of ice fishing on a frozen lake in winter, there is truly something for everyone.  This day is a celebration of our of long-standing fishing traditions and should motivate us even more to protect, conserve, and enhance our aquatic resources for future generations to enjoy."

Special Video Message

To commemorate National Hunting and Fishing Day, Burhans and Schaeffer recorded a joint video message, which was shared on each agency's website and social media platforms.  

Click Here to view the message.


A proclamation from Gov. Tom Wolf recognizing Hunting and Fishing Day in Pennsylvania stated that "Hunting and angling offer participants an opportunity to connect with nature on a personal level while simultaneously providing food security, a sense of self-sufficiency, and both mental and physical health benefits."

The Governor's proclamation also recognized that "To this day, the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission are funded primarily by sportsmen and women, through this American System of Conservation Funding: a user pays-public benefits approach that is widely recognized as the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world."

Gov. Wolf credited the state's sportsmen and women as being among the first in the nation to support the establishment of fish and wildlife conservation agencies and pioneering a self-imposed excise tax on hunting, fishing and boating equipment to raise additional conservation funds. 

The proclamation recognized that more than 1.4 million Pennsylvania hunters and anglers contribute to the state's economy through more than $1.5 billion in annual spending, and support more than 24,000 jobs, creating $181 million in state and local taxes.

The PGC and PFBC makes it easy for individuals and families to get involved in hunting and fishing through a wealth of programs, educational resources, and tools for connecting with local lands and waters available at and

To purchase a Pennsylvania hunting or fishing license, visit The Outdoor Shop or more than 700 license issuing agents.

Click Here for a history of the Fish and Boat Commission.

Click Here for a history of the Game Commission

Read more about Pennsylvania’s conservation heritage by visiting the PA Conservation Heritage website and the PA Historical and Museum Commission’s Explore PA History website..

National Hunting and Fishing Day was established by Congress in 1971.

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 to celebrate the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits.

Pennsylvanians love their parks and outdoor recreation areas, and during the COVID pandemic they turned to trails and outdoors spaces in huge numbers for relief and release.

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation reports Pennsylvanians love their parks so much that 65,000 volunteers contributed over 584,000 hours worth over $16 million to do maintenance and improvement projects at State Parks and State Forests in the last eleven years.  Read more here.

The Department of Conservation and National Resources reports visitors to State Parks have increased nearly 23 percent this year over last with campgrounds and cabins nearly fully booked.  Read more here.

DCNR manages more than 2.5 million acres of public lands in State Parks and Forests.

Trail use across the state has increased 52 percent and in some cases 100 - 200 percent in some areas this year over last year, reports the PA Environmental CouncilRead more here.

With local parks, it’s much the same story.  Pittsburgh, for example, reports park use increased 130 percent. Read more here.

There are more than 6,100 local and regional parks and recreation facilities in Pennsylvania totaling 195,000 acres of public land as well as 12,000 miles of trails, including 1,700 miles of rail trails.  (Page 23 of State Outdoor Recreation Plan)

Add to all these public access lands the 513,000 acre Allegheny National Forest and 19 National Park sites, you have lots of recreational opportunities. (Page 23 of State Outdoor Recreation Plan)

There has also been a surge in sales of hunting, fishing and boating licenses over the last year, according to the Fish and Boat and Game Commissions.  Read more here.

This year the Game Commission is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the State Game Lands, public land bought and managed by the Commission to support wildlife encompassing more than 1.5 million acres.  Read more hereClick Here for upcoming tours of game lands.

Nonprofit land trusts also provide a key role in providing public access to important recreation and open space lands across the Commonwealth.

The most recent report by WeConservePA (formerly the PA Land Trust Association), found local land trusts have protected more than 797,200 acres in Pennsylvania for open space, to protect wildlife and habitats and hiking, fishing and hunting opportunities.  Read more here.

More than 100,000 people are involved in land trust to protect these valuable lands.

Click Here to find your local land trust and see which lands are open to the public.

Clearly, Pennsylvanians love their public lands and public access to outdoor recreation!

For more information on land and water trails in Pennsylvania, visit the Explore PA Trails website.  For information on local and regional recreation facilities, visit the Get Outdoors PA website.

  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 This Week:

-- DCNR Wildfire Fighters Joining Crew Headed To Fight Wildfire In Wyoming

-- DCNR Releases Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, Announces $23.4 Million In Grants To Support 158 Park, Recreation Projects

-- House Committee Sets Oct. 1 Meeting To Discuss Bill To Open Public Lands, Trails, State Park, Forest Land To Off-Highway Motorcycles, Dirt Bikes, Sport Motorcycles 

-- Keep PA Beautiful: Celebrate National Public Lands Day By Joining Pick Up Pennsylvania Cleanup

Related Articles:

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

-- 65,000 Volunteers Contributed Over 584,000 Hours Maintaining State Parks And Forests 

-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation Launches New Protect Our Parks And Forests Website

-- Republicans Want To Charge You For Admission, Parking At State Parks As Pennsylvanians Rush To Parks To Avoid The Pandemic

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

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

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

[Posted: Sept. 16, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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