PA Parks & Forests Foundation Launches 125th Anniversary State Parks, Forests Celebration
The PA Parks and Forests Foundation encourages all Pennsylvanians to join in celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Pennsylvania's State Parks and Forests. On May 22 dignitaries gathered at the State Capitol to kick off the celebration.
Representatives Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) and Mark Longietti (D-Mercer) discussed the recent House Resolution 901, which recognizes the anniversary and the importance of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
“This resolution commemorates the internationally recognized conservation efforts initiated in the Commonwealth by the General Assembly and Governor Robert Pattison in 1893, and the contributions of Gifford Pinchot, Rachel Carson and many other individuals to promote and preserve the Commonwealth’s resources in the 125 years since,” said Rep. Harper. Click Here for video of her remarks.
Rep. Longietti went on to say that, “Our state parks directly supported 9,435 jobs in 2010, and the secondary effects of visits to the parks added another 3,200 jobs across the economy. For every dollar invested in Pennsylvania’s state parks in 2010, $12.41 of value-added income was returned to the Commonwealth.” Click Here for his remarks.
Senators Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) and Judith Schwank (D-Berks) were on-hand to unveil Senate Resolution 366, which also celebrates the 125th anniversary of Pennsylvania state parks and forests.
“We frequently celebrate milestones in our Commonwealth’s political and economic heritage,” said Sen. Baker. “It is a different matter when we celebrate our natural heritage, for this creation was an inheritance, not something that men and women imagined and engineered from a cold standing start. Yet, it was a groundbreaking political and economic move when the state forests and state parks were established. This resolution and anniversary recognition help restore the names of these preservation pioneers in terms of public awareness.” Click Here for her remarks.
Sen. Schwank continued with, “Our state parks and state forests are nationally recognized for their beauty, importance, and how well they are managed. Indeed, the health and vitality of these Pennsylvania natural wonders is achieved not just by government agencies and our dedicated state employees alone, but also by the extensive network of non-profit, private and volunteer organizations, each working cooperatively and collaboratively to make our state forests and parks the best system in the nation.” Click Here for her remarks.
DCNR Deputy Secretary of Parks and Forests John Norbeck, spoke of the economic, health, and recreational benefits of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests and the role each of us can play in making sure these public lands will be here another 125 years from now. Click Here for his remarks.
Wrapping up the event was Marci Mowery, President of PPFF, who said, “We are excited to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests with all citizens of Pennsylvania, but we are even more excited to start preparing for the next 125 years. The legacy of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests is thanks in part to forward-thinkers like Maurice Goddard and Gifford Pinchot, as well as members of the public, who recognize the value of these public lands. We need every resident of the Commonwealth to get behind our state parks and forests, so they will be here for generations to come.”
The event also celebrated Gov. Wolf’s proclamation declaring May 23-30, 2018, Pennsylvania State Park and Forest Week.
Some facts about Pennsylvania state parks and forests:
-- Pennsylvania has 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest land. In 2009, our state park system was named the BEST in the nation by the National Recreation and Park Society, and our state forests are national certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.
-- There are more than 40 million annual visitors to Pennsylvania state parks and forests, generating more than $1 billion a year for our economy through visitor purchases of hotel rooms, dinners, souvenirs, and other amenities.
In fact, a 2012 study by Penn State University showed that the return on taxpayer investment in our state parks alone was estimated at nearly $12.41 for every $1 invested.
-- But it’s not just the economics that are important. Spending time in our state parks and forests is great for your health. Studies show that outdoor recreation reduces stress, anxiety and depression, lowers the risk of obesity, helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduces your risk of cardiovascular issues.
Thankfully, there are many recreational opportunities at Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests to keep you healthy, including 180 boat ramps, 56 swimming beaches, 50 fishing piers, 18 swimming pools, 280 cabins, 4 ski areas, 2 golf courses, and 2 model airplane airports, among so much else.
-- Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests provide many ecosystem services too, including clean air and water. In fact, our state forests act as a 2.2 million-acre water treatment system. These public lands also provide habitat for a wide variety of plants, insects, and wildlife.
Click Here to learn more about the 125th Anniversary. To learn more about the Commonwealth's conservation heritage, visit the PA Conservation Heritage Project website.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter. Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.
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.
(Photo: 2016 PPFF People’s Choice Best In Show: Kyle Yates, Cook Forest State Park.)
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[Posted: May 30, 2018]
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