DCNR wants to hear from YOU to help develop the state’s next outdoor recreation plan

24 April 2024- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today encouraged Pennsylvanians to share their outdoor interests and activities in a 10-minute, online survey that will assist with developing the state’s next outdoor recreation plan.

DCNR is working with experts across the state to develop the next Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (2025-2029), which will help to guide future recreation investments, policies and facilities.

“Five years after the current Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan was written, recreation interests and trends may be different,” Dunn said. “We’d like to know whether walking is still Pennsylvanians favorite outdoor activity? Do people still want trails and on-road bike lanes? These questions will be a part of the foundation for outdoor recreation going forward and we appreciate input from the public.”

Public feedback is an important component to building the goals of the plan. In addition to a scientifically conducted survey earlier this year by Penn State and a survey of recreation providers currently being performed, a general online survey is now open for Pennsylvanians wanting to share their opinions about outdoor recreation.

The survey is available in English and Spanish and is completely confidential. The deadline to complete the survey is May 22.

After feedback from all three surveys is analyzed, a draft plan will be written in early fall and will be available for review and comment on DCNR’s website and at still to be scheduled public feedback sessions.

Feedback sessions will allow the public, providers and interested stakeholders to give their input before a final document is presented to the National Park Service in early 2025.

“Please make sure your voice is heard by taking the survey and be sure to share with others,” DCNR Deputy Secretary Claire Jantz said. “We especially want to hear from new individuals and communities to help us build on the increased interest in outdoor recreation and spending time in nature.”

A new plan every five years keeps Pennsylvania eligible for federal Land and Water Conservation funding.

The 2020-2024 statewide outdoor recreation plan identifies walking for pleasure or fitness as the most popular outdoor recreation activity in Pennsylvania. Other popular activities include sightseeing, driving for pleasure, nature watching, swimming, picnicking and bicycling.

Past survey respondents listed bike lanes, dog parks, rental cabins and wildlife viewing areas as the facilities they would most like to see increased.

Studies show greater access to outdoor recreation facilities, particularly close-to-home walking and biking opportunities, makes our communities better places to live; can assist in improving mental health and social wellbeing; and also increase tourism potential, which can increase economic opportunities.

Visit DCNR’s website to learn more about the outdoor recreation plan and process.