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​​​​​​Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation

The mission of the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation is to unite, grow, and strengthen Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy.

Recognizing the importance of the economic and many other benefits of outdoor recreation to the Commonwealth, Governor Josh Shapiro launched the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation in 2023.

Calling All Outdoor Businesses!

In March 2024, Governor Josh Shapiro kicked off an outdoor business alliance process to build capacity and organize the industry.​

Use this Office of Outdoor Recreation form to tell us about your business and how the office can help you.​​

Ou​tdoor Recreation Economy in Pennsylvania

The outdoor industry contributes about $17 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy according to 2022 Pennsylvania Outdoor Economic Data (PDF) from the U.S. Department of Commerce ​Bureau of Economic Analysis.

There are several components to Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy:​

  • Businesses, including producers of outdoor clothing, equipment, and vehicles; providers of experiences; and professionals that design and build, manage, communicate about, and serve outdoor recreation

  • Contributions outdoor recreation and places make to broad based community and economic development by improving community quality of life, retaining Pennsylvania youth and students in the Commonwealth, and attracting a highly competitive and mobile workforce

  • Public health and gray infrastructure cost savings generated by improved wellbeing through participation in outdoor recreation and the green infrastructure provided by the conservation of recreational lands and waters.

Growing Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Economy

Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation is working with businesses, economic developers, recreation leaders, and government to advance its outdoor economy by building capacity across three strategic focus areas:

Build Capacity of Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Industry

In comparison to other industries of its size and impact in Pennsylvania, the outdoor industry is underdeveloped, under coordinated, and under recognized as a sector of the economy.

The office will help foster organization within the outdoor industry, understanding and empowering the outdoor workforce, and more effectively communicating its value to Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness, quality of life, and sense of place.

Build Capacity to Use Outdoor Recreation as Driver of Community and Economic Development

Ready access to high-quality outdoor recreation and close connections between outdoor assets and community amenities are among the most essential ingredients for successful economic development.

They also are the focus of unprecedented levels of interest and resources from government and nongovernmental funding and policy institutions.

The office will help to steer policy and funding downstream in ways that are relevant to Pennsylvania communities while expanding local and regional capacity to capitalize on funding and policy opportunities.

Build Capacity to Deliver Inclusive and Equitable Wellbeing in and Through the O​​utdoors

Engagement with the outdoors is good for all Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania communities; however, access to and comfort with the outdoors is not always inclusive or equitable.

The office will expand inclusivity and mitigate inequity in the outdoors with empowerment and analytical programs targeted at serving all Pennsylvanians now while preparing an inclusive and equitable recreation system for the future.

The focus areas and related goals and actions to accomplish them are outlined in the Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania Conclusions Report and Roadmap for the Future (PDF).​

Pennsylvania’s Director of Outdoor Recreation

Nathan Reigner, Ph.D., is Pennsylvania’s first Director of Outdoor Recreation. He was instrumental in the establishment of Pennsylvania's Office of Outdoor Recreation.


Prior to beginning his service with the Commonwealth in 2021, Nathan was a member of Penn State’s research faculty and Principal of Recreation Tourism Science, an applied outdoor recreation consultancy.

Throughout his career, Nathan has focused on helping communities, parks, trails, and tourism destinations deliver outstanding experiences while protecting their essential character.

Reigner has worked in and with more than 100 national and state parks, forests, trails, historic sites, and heritage areas in more than half the states and territories in the union and overseas in Europe, Asia, the Arctic, and the Middle East.

A native of Pennsylvania, Reigner has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Gettysburg College, a Master of Science in Forestry from Virginia Tech, and a Doctorate in Natural Resource Management from the University of Vermont.

Contact Nathan Reigner through this online form.