Pennsylvania has a new five-year Outdoor Recreation Plan with five top priorities.  The plan – Recreation for All – is a blueprint including 20 recommendations and 70 action steps for meeting the outdoor recreation needs of all Pennsylvanians.   Plan developers built the 2020 plan by gathering input on Pennsylvanians’ outdoor recreation needs and wants from recreation providers, outdoor enthusiasts, the state’s general population, and underserved populations through surveys and face-to face conversations.  Over 12,000 Pennsylvanians weighed in on the plan.

Each webinar will focus on one priority and cover challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvania communities, research findings and best practices.  Special guests already helping to implement the plan will share their stories.  Learn how to use the plan to support your community’s planning needs as well as funding requests.

Webinars are FREE, but advance registration is requested.  Click on the webinar title to register.  For more information contact:[email protected]

Thurs., October 15 – Recreation for All: Ensuring Equity in Access to Pennsylvania’s Outdoors

Speakers: Christine Ticehurst and Shea Zwerver, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Lizzie Hessek, Program Manager, Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have plentiful opportunities for close-to-home recreation is a top plan priority. Learn how the south-east Circuit Trail coalition is moving from dialogue to action to build more equitable and diverse trails.

Thurs., October 22 – Sustainable Systems: Protecting and Adapting our Resources

Speakers: Michael Hoffman and Nathan Reagle, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Jeremy Wimpey, Ph.D., Applied Trails Research

As outdoor recreational interests have soared this summer, finding the balance of meeting needs and protecting natural resources is a growing challenge. Add on increasing threats to infrastructure from climate change, recreation providers will need to adopt sustainable practices as standard practice. Jeremy will share how to develop, maintain and manage sustainable trails and trail-based recreation.

Thurs., October 29 – Funding and Economic Development: Elevating Outdoor Recreation

Speakers: Gretchen Leslie and Justin Royer, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Patrick Starr, Vice-President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The outdoor recreation industry is a hidden economy in Pennsylvania that supports 251,000 direct jobs and generates $29.1 billion in annual consumer spending. PEC’s Outdoor Town Program and Toolkit can help communities rich in natural and recreation resources become gateways to the outdoors.

Thurs., November 5 – Technology: New Tools to Improve Engagement

Speakers: Josh VanBrakle, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Irina Beal, GIS Analyst, WeConservePA

Digital technology – smartphones in particular – has had major impacts on outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania. Web-based maps help the public find new parks, trails, and nature preserves to visit. The challenge is finding the appropriate balance of technology and time aside. Josh and Irina will share numerous web-based mapping resources including Pennsylvania’s new outdoor recreation and access need interactive map.

Tues., November 10 – Health and Wellness: Promoting Healthy Living through Outdoor Connections

Speakers: Cheri Matter and Ryan Dysinger, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Jason Lang, Director of Parks and Recreation, East Goshen Township

Enjoy the outdoors this summer for your mental and physical health during the pandemic? Outdoor recreation is key to helping address some of today’s pressing health care issues. Learn about connections Pennsylvania state and local parks are making to strengthen the connection between health and the outdoors and develop strategic partnerships with health care providers.