Poll shows outdoors importance to Pennsylvanians during pandemic

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania
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Harrisburg, Pa. (WHTM) — A recent poll from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) suggests four out of five Pennsylvanians who visited parks and trails believe that time spent outdoors was essential to their physical and mental health during the pandemic.

 “The poll results confirm what we have been seeing with our visitation numbers – that Pennsylvanians are turning to the outdoors for healthy activity and solace during the challenging times of the pandemic,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “That interest in the outdoors also has a positive impact on our economy and small businesses, as people try new activities and purchase the related gear.”

The Survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg of 1,001 Pennsylvanians during fall 2020 indicate:

  • 86% believe time spent in parks and trails have been essential to their mental and/or physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 75% believe funding outdoor recreation facilities should be considered a top priority by state and local governments
  • 35% of respondents said their interest in learning new outdoor recreation hobbies/skills increased since the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic began

Pennsylvania state parks and forest lands have remained operational and accessible to the public throughout the pandemic, hosting a 26.6% increase in park-goers since 2019.

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