In a significant move to bolster Pennsylvania’s economy and job market, the Shapiro Administration announced a detailed action plan to enhance the state’s outdoor recreation sector.
This initiative comes in response to the sector’s substantial contribution to the state’s economy, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania adds $16.9 billion to the economy, supports 164,344 jobs, and constitutes 1.8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, released the “Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania Conclusions Report and Roadmap for the Future.” This plan outlines a series of strategies aimed at increasing the outdoor sector’s impact on community development, job creation, and economic opportunities.
The announcement reflects the administration’s commitment to the sector. “We’re excited to get to work implementing them to benefit our commonwealth, our communities, and all Pennsylvanians,” Dunn stated.
The 32-page report, a culmination of feedback from stakeholders, outdoor enthusiasts, and departments like Community and Economic Development, Health, and Transportation, proposes a multifaceted approach to enhance the outdoor recreation industry in Pennsylvania. The plan is designed to address various aspects of the sector, from business development to workforce improvement.
According to a report, a key aspect of the plan is to steer funding towards outdoor initiatives through effective policy-making, planning, and emphasizing the economic benefits of outdoor activities. This approach aims to underscore the importance of the outdoor sector in the state’s overall economic framework.
The plan also focuses on organizing the outdoor industry by establishing an outdoor business alliance. This alliance will play a crucial role in identifying and addressing gaps in support for businesses within the industry, thereby fostering a more robust outdoor recreation economy.
Another significant element of the plan is the development of the outdoor workforce. The administration aims to elevate the status of outdoor workers by improving compensation, benefits, and working conditions. This move is expected to stabilize the workforce and enhance its professional status, contributing to the overall growth of the sector.
Communicating the value of outdoor activities is also a priority. The plan involves collaboration with tourism and marketing partners to promote outdoor activities. This initiative is expected to support events and programs that expand diversity, emphasize inclusiveness, and address inequity in access to outdoor spaces and activities.
Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner highlighted the potential of this initiative. “We see a tremendous opportunity for quality growth that creates entrepreneurial opportunities, attracts and retains highly competitive workers, and advances the wellbeing of all communities,” Reigner said.
The Shapiro Administration’s plan is a strategic effort to leverage the outdoor recreation sector as a key driver for economic growth and job creation. By focusing on community development, workforce improvement, and equitable access to outdoor activities, the plan aims to enhance the wellbeing of communities across Pennsylvania.
This comprehensive approach to developing the outdoor recreation industry is expected to have far-reaching impacts. It not only aims to strengthen the economic fabric of the state but also to enrich the quality of life for its residents. The administration’s focus on inclusivity and equity in access to outdoor spaces underscores its commitment to ensuring that the benefits of the sector are shared widely and equitably.
In a recent Modern Campground report, Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has officially opened its grant application round for 2024, aimed at bolstering community parks, recreation, and conservation projects across the state.