The Economic Benefits of Pennsylvania’s Parks and Forests

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Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation Presents Economic Benefits Video

CAMP HILL, PA PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES, December 15, 2021 / -- From leaf peeping to whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, and more, Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests offer many options for outdoor recreation, attracting visitors near and far. Those who come to enjoy recreation opportunities within state parks and forests also dine, shop, and stay over in surrounding towns, playing an important role in the economy.

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation recently completed a video highlighting the economic value of the state’s parks and forests. Showcased in the video is the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, where commercial biking and rafting bring more than 300,000 visitors annually. That’s about 70 times the town’s actual population. In the video, Paul Fogal, founder and owner of Pocono Whitewater and Pocono Biking, and Jeffrey Cook, owner of High Street Guest House, share how important the state’s parks and forests are for local small businesses.

“The Economic Benefits of Pennsylvania’s Parks and Forests” video, created with funding assistance from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Community Conservation Partnership Program, is now available on PPFF’s YouTube channel.

Generating $29.1 billion annually, Pennsylvania is among the top states in the nation for consumer spending on outdoor recreation, according to the Outdoor Recreation Industry. This spending supports 251,000 jobs, generates $8.6 billion in wages and salaries, and provides $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue. In the video, Andrew Mowen, Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University, further explains how investing in the stewardship and maintenance of parks and forests and their amenities, such as their network of trails and waterways, provides a positive return for the Commonwealth.

Along with picturesque views, rugged trails, and cascading waterfalls, the state’s 121 parks and 2.2 million acres of forest are also home to aging infrastructure including dams, public water supplies, wastewater treatment plants, roadways, bridges, and buildings in need of public investment.

As more people have turned to the outdoors during the pandemic, these infrastructure needs as well as the importance of the state parks and forests for human health and wellness have come to light. With recent infrastructure funding opportunities such as the American Rescue Plan, it is possible to put funds where they are needed for this essential part of the economy and for the future of Pennsylvania’s parks and forests. Details about this need for financial investment can be found on the Protect Our Parks and Forests website at

“The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation believes that our state parks and forests are assets” said Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. “An investment in the state park and forest system goes full circle with the return being the benefits of safe and well-maintained open spaces for visitors, income to local businesses, the environmental benefits such as clean air and water, and a positive contribution to the state’s economy.”

To view “The Economic Benefits of Pennsylvania’s Parks and Forests”, visit PPFF’s YouTube channel at The video will also be shared on PPFF’s social media channels.

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 48 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. To learn more about PPFF, visit

To learn more about the current $1.4 billion need for financial investment in state park and forest infrastructure and the Protect Our Parks and Forests initiative, please visit

Marci Mowery
PA Parks and Forests Foundation
+1 717-236-7644
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The Economic Benefits of PA's Parks and Forests