Friday, January 19, 2024

Jan. 24 DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council To Feature Discussion Of Growing Outdoor Recreation For PA Report, Recommendations

The January 24 meeting of DCNR’s
Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council will feature a discussion of the newly released Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania Report conclusions and recommendations.

Also on the agenda is a presentation by the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation offering a regional perspective on the outdoor recreation economy.

The Council will also hear a report on DCNR activities from DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and DCNR’s Policy and Legislative offices.

Growing Outdoor Recreation Report

In 2021, Pennsylvania embarked on an effort to elevate the power and potential of Pennsylvania’s $17 billion outdoor recreation to the state’s economy and quality of life with the hiring of the state’s first Director of Outdoor Recreation Dr. Nathan Reigner. 

The director led a robust stakeholder process from fall 2022 through spring 2023 that involved more than 500 Pennsylvanians who are engaged in the outdoor recreation economy.

Feedback from those stakeholders, supported with research and collaboration with other states and organizations across the country, has helped to shape a vision for Pennsylvania’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation: building capacity within our outdoor industry; building capacity for community and economic development using the outdoors; and building capacity for inclusive and equitable wellbeing through the outdoors.

The Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania Report provides detail about how this vision formed, the Office’s mission and mode of operation, strategic goals the Office is charged with achieving for Pennsylvania, and actions the Office can take in its first years of work to help Pennsylvania unite, grow, and strengthen its outdoor economy.

Strategic Priorities

The report identifies strategic priorities developed with stakeholder input, analysis of existing organizations and programs within Pennsylvania, and review of efforts underway in states that have already established offices of outdoor recreation. 

These strategic priority areas address gaps in needed capacity within Pennsylvania’s current outdoor economy and reinforce each other to connect the dots between natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation, and broad-based community and economic development. 

The recommended strategic priorities are--

-- Build Capacity within Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Industry: In comparison to other industries of its size and impact in Pennsylvania, the outdoor industry is underdeveloped, under coordinated, and under-recognized as a sector of our economy. 

The Office of Outdoor Recreation will help foster organization within the outdoor industry, understanding and empowering our outdoor workforce, and more effectively communicating its value to Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness, quality of life, and sense of place. 

-- Build Community and Economic Development Capacity: Ready access to high-quality outdoor recreation and close connections between outdoor assets and community amenities are among the most essential ingredients for successful economic development.

They are also the focus of unprecedented levels of interest and resources from government and nongovernmental funding and policy institutions. 

While Pennsylvania communities are poised to realize economic and community benefits associated with the outdoor economy, many lack critical programmatic, technical, and human resource capacity. 

The Office of Outdoor Recreation will help to steer policy and funding downstream in ways that are relevant to Pennsylvania communities while expanding local and regional capacity to capitalize on funding and policy opportunities.

-- Build Capacity for Inclusive and Equitable Wellbeing through the Outdoors:  Engagement with the outdoors is good for all Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania communities, however access to and comfort with the outdoors is not always inclusive or equitable. 

These exclusions result from inequitable distribution of resources (e.g., money, knowledge, transportation, time, technology), biases within our recreation system, and rich cultural diversification within the Commonwealth. 

These forces influence the ability of today’s Pennsylvanians and future generations to fully benefit from the outdoors. 

The Office should expand inclusivity and mitigate inequity in the outdoors with empowerment and analytical programs targeted at serving all Pennsylvanians now while preparing an inclusive and equitable recreation system for the future.

Each of these strategic priorities has a series of recommended action items to address the priorities.

Click Here to read the full report.

Visit DCNR’s Office of Outdoor Recreation webpage for more information and how to connect.

Public Comments

There will be two opportunities for public comment at the meeting.  If you are interested in presenting comments, please advise by email to  no later than 5 p.m. on January 23.  

You can provide comments at the beginning of the meeting or at the end of the meeting.  

You may also provide comments or questions after the meeting by emailing the same address or through the Council's website.

Join The Meeting

The meeting will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg.  Click Here to register to join the meeting remotely by Microsoft Teams or by phone.

For more information and available handouts, visit DCNR’s Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council webpage.  Questions should be directed to Gretchen Leslie 717-772-9084 or notice)


-- WITF/Spotlight PA: PA’s Outdoor Recreation Office Identifies Early Priorities, But Some Specifics Remain Unclear 

-- MCall: PA’s Outdoor Recreation Office Plans To Form Business Alliance; Strategy Relies On Local Volunteers And Outside Help

Related Articles:

-- CFA Approves $27 Million In Watershed, Recreation Projects Funded By Act 13 Drilling Impact Fees; Fees Dropping $104 Million In 2024; New Grant Round Opening  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Announces Opening Of Community Recreation, Conservation Grant Round

-- DCNR Announces Planting Of 255 Acres Of Streamside Buffer At Big Elk Creek State Park, Chester County; April 6 Tree Planting  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Announces It Will Operate ATV Regional Trail Connector In Northcentral PA Through 2025 Riding Season

-- PA Environmental Council Awards Over $20,000 In Water Trail Mini-Grants To 5 Projects  [PaEN]

-- DCNR State Parks Environmental Ed Newsletter Features Winter Teaching Ideas  [PaEN]

-- North Branch Land Trust, DiscoverNEPA: Apply Now For Outdoor Educator Certification Bootcamp In Luzerne County  [PaEN]

-- Rothrock Trail Alliance Hosts Feb. 20 Meeting On Plans For 53 Miles Of New Trails In Centre County  [PaEN]

-- 2024 Woodland Owners Conference Set For Feb. 10 In Clarion  [PaEN]

[Posted: January 19, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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