Originally held Wednesday, February 17
DCNR is a statewide leader in land conservation, trails initiatives, and manages much of the land available for public recreational access. During the COVID-19 pandemic, state parks attendance increased over 26%, from 37 million to nearly 47 million visitors. Some parks in Eastern Pennsylvania saw months where their visitor numbers more than doubled. With those rapid increases in visitation came increased pressures on our public resources, and increased difficulties for staff to engage an abundance of new visitors while still protecting and maintaining our public lands. Despite the challenges, it has been rewarding to see clear evidence of people turning to outdoor spaces such as state parks for recreation and solace during the pandemic.
In addition to discussing the impacts of high visitation pressure on our public lands, we’ll discuss updates and recent projects at some of the 20 state parks or park complexes in Eastern Pennsylvania. With a new park office and visitor center at Hickory Run, which opened in 2020, the recent addition of the Kittatiny Ridge to our Conservation Landscapes program, and the guidance provided by our Penn’s Parks For All planning initiative, there is a lot of news to share!