Outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania is serious business
Airdate: August 9, 2022
One of the bright spots of the COVID-19 pandemic is that more Pennsylvanians went outdoors for recreation. There’s no reason to believe they’ll stop either. At a time when many were home from work and didn’t want to be stuck indoors, adults and children visited state parks, hiked on trails, camped, swam or explored.
Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner was on Tuesday’s Smart Talk and commented on what people did during the pandemic, “When the pandemic was declared, there were three essential things that most of us had to do. Go to the grocery store to get our food. Go to the pharmacy to get our medicine. And go outside to get our outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation is essential in our daily lives, and it’s a substantial part of our of our economy, particularly in the rural areas of our state, in small communities that are seeing outdoor recreation and the quality of life that it delivers is a key tool for economic development.
And they did spend money according to the U.S. Department of Commerce — almost $12 billion on outdoor recreational activities.
Reigner credits the great outdoor recreation diversity Pennsylvania offers, “Your listeners can’t see me like you can on the video, but you see me looking at a map on the wall. And when I look at this map and think about outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania, we can go from the southeast. We have John Haynes National Wildlife Refuge on the on the doorstep of the Philadelphia International Airport, providing boating app opportunities, providing mentor and hunting and archery programs for Philadelphia’s youth. We can go up into the other corner of the state, Presque Isle State Park in Lake Erie, our most visited state park. You can see the sunset over a horizon, water on Lake Erie. We’ve got the Pennsylvania wilds with functionally endless miles of trails and rivers that you can ride your bike, ride your horse, ride your ATV or paddle your kayak or canoe on. We’ve got an astonishing number of ski areas. We have more named rail trails in our state than any other state. And all of this. Is is accessible to. Every well, all of this ought to be accessible to every Pennsylvanian, and we have the potential to make that happen. So I think what makes us unique is really the quality of our experiences, the diversity of them, and the fact that they are on our doorstep.”