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Governor Shapiro’s Budget Supports Outdoor Recreation Economy, Park, and Forest Infrastructure

March 08, 2023 12:00 AM

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Governor Josh Shapiro presented his first budget to the people of Pennsylvania -- sharing his vision for commonsense investments to make Pennsylvania communities safer and healthier, create real opportunity and build an economy that works for all, and ensure every child has access to a quality education.

This budget is a set of real solutions to the most pressing issues Pennsylvania communities face, Governor Shapiro said.

During his remarks, the Governor stressed the importance of protecting our natural resources, parks, and trails, mentioning both Presque Isle and Pine Grove Furnace state parks by name.

He talked about how important parks, forests, and trails are to families across the Commonwealth, including his own family.  

State Park and Forest Infrastructure

The budget that Governor Shapiro proposed would provide $112 million to maintain and improve infrastructure in parks and forests, which would be the single largest investment in decades.

In addition, the budget proposes $2.8 million to support operating needs for the management and safety of our public lands.

Many people don’t realize the DCNR system contains not only natural areas, but also many roads, bridges, and structures, most of which were built more than 50 years ago.

Infographic of state parks and forests infrastructure, including: 172 public water supplies, 68 wastewater treatment plants

“Let’s invest in our entire park system and give the people what they want -- more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with their friends and families,” Governor Shapiro said.

Creating an Office of Outdoor Recreation

Recognizing the importance of the outdoor recreation economy, Governor Shapiro directed a portion of the $2.8 million for the Office of Outdoor Recreation to connect DCNR with the private industries and communities seeking to leverage outdoor recreation for economic development.

Outdoor recreation contributes nearly $14 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, accounting for 152,000 jobs, and 1.6 percent of the Commonwealth’s Gross Domestic Product. Pennsylvania is the sixth-largest outdoor economy in nation!

Infographic about what makes up the outdoor recreation economy in Pennsylvania. A circle in center of graphic says, outdoor rec

Last year, DCNR hired Pennsylvania’s first Director of Outdoor Recreation, and by creating an office, Pennsylvania will join 18 other states that have recognized the power of outdoor recreation to spur economic growth, retain and attract new residents, drive tourism, expand access to the outdoors, and improve public health and community well-being.

Pennsylvania will be the largest state -- in both population and economy -- to seize this transformative opportunity.

Overall, the proposed 2023-2024 Commonwealth budget includes $621.5 million for DCNR across all funding sources.

The General Assembly now works to pass a budget bill that will go to Governor Shapiro to sign.

DCNR’s Appropriations hearings are Tuesday, March 21 at 9:30 A.M. in the Senate, and the House Appropriations Committee hearing will take place on Thursday, March 23 at 9:30 A.M.

Find more information about Governor Shapiro’s budget on the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website or watch his budget address.

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