The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to learn that the Commonwealth has officially launched Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation.
As the office was first being developed, the PA Wilds Center was part of the Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania (GORP) coalition. This group of more than 50 outdoor recreation stakeholders helped inform development of the new statewide Office of Outdoor Recreation.
The outdoor recreation sector adds nearly $14 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy and also supports 152,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Nationally, outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output, accounting for approximately 3 percent of all jobs in America. Pennsylvania has the 6th largest outdoor recreation economy in the United States.
Pennsylvania’s investments in this sector are particularly meaningful in rural areas that are close to outdoor recreation assets and increasingly have grown their local economies by focusing on industry-related spending by both visitors and residents alike.
Dr. Nathan Reigner leads the state initiative as Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation. Even before the official launch of the new office, Reigner had traveled the state on a listening tour to learn more about outdoor recreation businesses and to discuss how the industry benefits the state’s economy and residents’ well-being.
“PA is a heavyweight when it comes to outdoor rec in the US, and we need to start acting like a heavyweight,” said Director Reigner at the stakeholder meeting at the Conewago Club in Warren on April 11. “One need look no further than the PA Wilds for an example of the power of outdoor recreation for Pennsylvania communities. It is critical that we support the growth of the outdoor recreation sector to help improve health and wellness, conservation efforts, job creation, and so much more.”
The Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation will be focused on growing the state’s outdoor sector and will coordinate efforts with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the departments of Community and Economic Development, Health and Transportation, and others, to create a cohesive strategy for the growth and expansion of the outdoor sector.
“In addition to being a job and wealth creator, when done intentionally the outdoor recreation sector can have huge multipliers across workforce, quality of life, health and wellness, the environment and climate,” said Ta Enos, Founder and CEO of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship. “The PA Wilds Center’s mission is to marry conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires these rural communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds, and that work truly couldn’t happen without the outdoor rec assets that help make this place so special.”
In addition, PA Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget includes a $112 million budget investment in state parks and forests, the largest in decades.
“Pennsylvania’s investment into making our natural resources more accessible will continue to help our communities and businesses grow and thrive,” said Enos. “It’s exciting to see the Commonwealth is taking to heart the data on outdoor recreation growth. Through thoughtful investments, we’ll continue to see these rural communities uplifted and celebrated.”
ABOUT THE PA WILDS
The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region and its 2+ million acres of public lands as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of more than 575 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit www.PAWildsCenter.org. To learn more about the WCO, visit www.WildsCoPA.org. Explore the PA Wilds at www.PAWilds.com. Find regionally made products at www.ShopThePAWilds.com.
Britt Madera | Communications Manager
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.
[email protected] | 570-948-1051