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Local Parks

Local parks enrich our lives and connect us to nature, recreation opportunities, and each other. For most Pennsylvanians, local parks serve as the primary venues for their outdoor recreation pursuits.

From small neighborhood pocket parks to larger county-level recreation areas, these locations are used for their close-to-home benefits.

Local parks deliver opportunities for play and physical activities for residents of all ages and abilities, promote mental and spiritual well-being, and environmental stewardship. Local parks often provide a sense of place and a gathering space, and are a reflection of the quality of life in a community.

Because local parks afford numerous social, environmental, and economic benefits, they are identified as a major priority in Pennsylvania’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (2014–2019).

DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation provides technical support and grant funding to help Pennsylvania communities realize the benefits of local parks.

Find a Local Park

There are approximately 6,000 local parks that are go-to destinations for Pennsylvanians that are listed on an interactive map. Visit Explore PA Local Parks to find a local park near you!  

Good for You. Good for All.

Local parks and recreation enhance the lives of all Pennsylvanians by helping people be well, have fun, and by strengthening communities. During 2014, DCNR partnered with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS) to create a statewide initiative to raise awareness and use of local parks and recreation facilities. Visit Good for PA to stay connected.

July Is Park and Recreation Month!

Park and Recreation Month is celebrated annually in July to recognize the importance of parks and recreation. Visit the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) website for tips and tools.

Resources for Developing and Maintaining Local Parks

Community Recreation and Parks Handbook: An Essential Government Service in Pennsylvania, Second Edition (PDF) Susan Landes, Ann Toole, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2004

This resource for Pennsylvania municipalities provides a good introduction to developing a parks and recreation program for your municipality. If you currently offer some parks and recreation services, this handbook will help you enhance and expand your offerings.

Creating Sustainable Community Parks and Landscapes: A Guide to Improving Quality of Life by Protecting Natural Resources, Second Edition (PDF) PA DCNR and PRPS, 2010

This guidebook was created to outline the benefits of enhancing the natural resources in local parks, to explain how to maintain parks in a sustainable manner, and to provide a step-by-step guide to help park staff achieve those results.

Financing Municipal Recreation and Parks: A Resource Guide for Recreation, Parks and Conservation, Second Edition (PDF) Susan Landes, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2010

This resource guide is designed to help staff and volunteers responsible for managing municipal recreation and parks services wade through the maze of financing possibilities. Whether you are a rookie or an experienced veteran, this publication will be helpful.

Hiring Municipal Recreation and Parks Personnel: A Resource Guide for Recreation, Parks and Conservation (PDF) Susan Landes, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2009

This guide provides answers and advice to help you find and hire the right people to develop and manage your recreation and parks system.

Multi-Municipal Cooperation for Recreation and Parks: A Resource Guide for Recreation, Parks and Conservation (PDF) Susan Landes, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2006

This publication provides helpful information to municipal managers, elected officials, and recreation and parks boards about cooperating with their neighboring municipalities to provide recreation and parks services, with an emphasis on how to develop a regional recreation agency.

Municipal Recreation Programming: A Resource Guide for Recreation, Parks and Conservation (PDF) Susan Landes, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2008

This handbook is organized so that your municipality can more easily understand the elements that go into offering community recreation programs. It focuses on how to plan and implement municipal recreation programs rather than how to conduct and supervise individual activities.

Recreation and Parks Board Handbook: A Resource Guide for Recreation, Parks and Conservation, Fourth Edition (PDF) Susan Landes, PA DCNR and PRPS, 2010

The Recreation and Parks Board Handbook, Fourth Edition, offers answers and advice to help your board function effectively. It is designed in an easy-to-read format for advisory board members. It provides board members and those interested in a board the information they need to successfully provide this government service.