Celebrating the Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks During “I Love My State Parks Week”

Pennsylvania Parks and Forests FoundationSubmitted Image

CAMP HILL, PA — In a jubilant display of appreciation for the natural treasures that adorn the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) recently partnered with the National Association of State Park Foundations (NASPF) to commemorate “I Love My State Parks Week.” This annual celebration serves as a testament to the profound influence of state parks on both the economy and the well-being of the public at large.

State parks across the nation draw in an impressive 809 million visitors each year, injecting over $100 billion into local and state economies. In Pennsylvania alone, these outdoor havens welcomed nearly 40 million visitors in 2023, significantly contributing over $14 billion to the commonwealth’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This substantial economic impact underscores the vital role that state parks play in fostering prosperity and sustainability within their respective regions.

Beyond their economic contributions, state parks serve as havens for a myriad of outdoor recreational activities that nurture physical, mental, and emotional well-being. PPFF’s engaging video series sheds light on the health benefits of outdoor pursuits, citing advantages such as regulating heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and fostering social connections and self-esteem among participants.

“I Love My State Parks Week,” an initiative launched by NASPF in 2022, seeks to heighten awareness of the myriad benefits that state parks offer, foster greater public engagement, and garner support for state park foundations. This year’s festivities will see over 8,500 state parks nationwide hosting a plethora of events from May 12 to May 19, 2024, inviting individuals to immerse themselves in the splendor of these natural sanctuaries.

Damon Kirkpatrick, President of NASPF, extolled the virtues of state parks as unparalleled gems that beckon all individuals to explore and savor their boundless offerings. “Our state parks are among the world’s finest, offering diverse opportunities for everyone,” remarked Kirkpatrick, emphasizing the inclusive nature of these outdoor sanctuaries.

Marci Mowery, President of PPFF, echoed the sentiment, urging individuals to express gratitude for the invaluable contributions of state parks and their custodians. “Join us in celebrating these invaluable public spaces and consider volunteering year-round to support Pennsylvania state parks,” Mowery urged, emphasizing the enduring importance of community engagement and stewardship in preserving and enhancing the natural splendor of these beloved public resources.

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