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​Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Recreation Plan

Every five years, states across the nation are required to produce a new statewide recreation plan to help guide their recreation policies, programs, and investments.

The plan is needed to remain eligible for federal grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which are used to:

  • Build parks and historic sites
  • Conserve forests, rivers, lakes, and wildlife habitat
  • Provide access to recreation, hunting, and fishing

Pennsylvania has benefitted from more than $178 million in funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for projects across the commonwealth during the last 55 years.

2020-2024 Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan

DCNR has finalized Pennsylvania’s next Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (PDF) -- the blueprint for delivering outdoor recreation services through 2024.

In 2018 and 2019, DCNR and its Technical Advisory Committee for the Outdoor Recreation Plan collected and analyzed public input relating to the five priority themes for the plan:

  • Health and wellness
  • Recreation for all
  • Sustainable systems
  • Technology
  • Funding and economic development

DCNR received input from 12,000 people to help shape the plan.

DCNR presented 20 draft recommendations and close to 100 action items in October 2019 for the public’s reaction and feedback.

The 2020-2024 outdoor recreation plan is being used by state agencies, local governments, and other recreation providers to guide outdoor recreation programs, policies, and projects.

Recreation Plan Research and Public Input

Public participation was a vital component of the development of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan.

Considerable research was conducted to gather feedback and insight from Pennsylvania residents, recreation enthusiasts, and those that provide outdoor recreation services and facilities.

The plan appendices under “Additional Information” on this web page contain the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Lion Poll reports by the Penn State Center for Survey Research; and 2019 reports from the Minority Focus Groups, Local Provider Survey, Public Survey, and the 2018 Ethnic Minority Survey. 

Outdoor Recreation Access and Need Maps

DCNR has developed Outdoor Recreation Access Interactive Maps that help implement Pennsylvania’s vision that enjoyable outdoor recreation is welcoming to all and accessible in every Pennsylvania community.

DCNR partnered with The Trust for Public Land and WeConservePA to answer two questions: 

  • Who in Pennsylvania has access to outdoor recreation within 10 minutes of their home?
  • More importantly, who doesn’t?

The interactive maps can help identify new recreation spots to increase equitable access. A Web Map and Analysis Frequently Asked Questions Document (PDF) is available to aid users with the interactive maps.

Pennsylvania Trail Network Strategic Plan 2020-2024

The Pennsylvania Land and Water Trail Network Strategic Plan, 2020-2024 (PDF) provides a five-year blueprint for state and local governments, trail providers, and other stakeholders to guide Pennsylvania’s trail stewardship and expansion.

The plan’s vision is to develop a statewide land and water trail network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles for all. 

The strategy for meeting that vision is presented in seven recommendations and 40 action steps.

Pennsylvania maintains a 20-member Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee, which is tasked with helping to guide the implementation of the plan.

States are required to maintain a state trail plan to receive federal funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program.

The Pennsylvania Trail Network Strategic Plan is a companion document to the 2020-2024 Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan (PDF).