The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently presented poll results to the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council (CNRAC) indicating four out of five Pennsylvanians who visited parks and trails believe that time spent outdoors is 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.”
Survey questions in a Lion Poll conducted by the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg of 1,001 Pennsylvanians during fall 2020 indicate:
Related to the economic impact of outdoor recreation, respondents indicated:
Pennsylvania state park and forest lands have remained open and accessible to all during the pandemic for outdoor recreation because of their importance to mental and physical health. State park attendance increased from 37 million in 2019 to more than 46.9 million in 2020, a 26.6 percent increase.
DCNR saw an increase of 7.5 million users/visits to its website in 2020 over the previous year, including more than 4 million new users.
During the council meeting, CNRAC members also heard presentations from the directors of the bureaus of State Parks and Forestry about the impacts to state parks and forests during the pandemic and changes they anticipate will be needed to address sustained interest in these lands.
To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and still enjoy the outdoors:
Find more information about Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council on the DCNR website.
The Pennsylvania Wilds is home to the largest concentration of public lands in the Commonwealth, featuring 29 state parks, eight state forests, 50 state game lands and the Allegheny National Forest. One of the largest blocks of green between New York City and Chicago, the Pennsylvania Wilds is known for its tremendous outdoor recreation destinations. While in the region, visitors can witness the largest wild elk herd in the northeast, experience some of the darkest night skies in the country, paddle two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, explore hundreds of trails, and so much more! Start your adventure today by investigating the headliner landscape experiences of the Pennsylvania Wilds!
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