GARDNERS, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Wolf joined government and local officials at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners to discuss the importance of outdoor spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic and announce a new “Penn’s Parks for All — A Plan for Pennsylvania’s State Parks of Tomorrow.“
“Pennsylvanians can be proud that our state park system is among the best in the nation, and our Constitution guarantees our right to a clean environment, now and in the future,” Gov. Wolf said. “The opportunity to enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities in state parks and forests was critical to our mental and physical health during the pandemic.”
The plan was developed with extensive public input, according to the press release, as well as a series of surveys conducted by Penn State in 2017 and 2018. The blueprint of the plan will help guide park professionals in caring for the 121 state parks in the Pa. system for the next 25 years.
There are 87 strategies that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will begin to act on. To view all of the strategies, visit their website by clicking here. Some of the strategies, however, include:
- Promote state parks as safe and welcoming
- Evaluate and update visitor information and programs
- Improve transportation options to state parks to broaden access
- Designate more areas that conserve ecological, geological and cultural resources
- Develop a night sky management program and enhance night sky viewing
“Pennsylvania state parks are free and open to all, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can get to them, feels welcome, or uses them in the same ways,” Margarita Caicedo, Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation ambassador, said. “Our pride in our state parks will grow as we work to make them more inclusive, meet the recreation needs of diverse and new recreational users of all abilities, and provide information and programming to correct and tell new cultural stories.”
The 121 state parks of Pennsylvania total almost 300,000 acres. View one of the state parks within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian by visiting their website here.