‘Hike for Healing’ Promotes Nature’s Role in Substance Use Disorder Recovery at Boyd Big Tree Preserve

Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation AreaImage via DCNR

PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania officials orchestrated a ‘Hike for Healing’ event at the Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area on Wednesday, highlighting the healing power of nature, particularly for individuals affected by substance use disorder (SUD). The event served as a reminder that support for SUD is available throughout Pennsylvania’s state parks.

Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), and Cindy Dunn, Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), joined forces with the Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services for a one-mile hike through the 1,025-acre state park. Recovering individuals and other members of the public also participated.

Secretary Davis-Jones stated, “We know that for those in recovery from substance use disorder, spending time in nature can be a powerful tool in their journey and provide a boost in both mental and physical health. DDAP is proud to partner with DCNR to spotlight the natural beauty and opportunities Pennsylvania has to offer, especially during this time of year.”

Pennsylvania boasts over 12,000 miles of trails that offer various activities such as walking, biking, and horseback riding. Trails are free outdoor recreation and crucial to health, motivating people to participate in physical activity more frequently, encouraging heart health improving activities, and providing safe spaces for play and exercise away from busy streets and commercial zones.

Secretary Dunn added, “Many studies support this, but most people just know — when you are outside among trees and being active, you just feel better. There is a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian, as well as more than 6,000 local parks and millions of acres of state forest to explore.”

Surveys conducted for the DCNR’s statewide outdoor recreation plan indicate that 65 percent of Pennsylvanians view trails and parks as essential components of our health care system, and 55 percent believe outdoor recreation should be prescribed by doctors to address health issues.

The event also included the distribution of free naloxone, emphasizing the importance of keeping this life-saving tool on hand. All state park officers are trained in administering naloxone and carry a kit containing gloves, two prefilled, needleless intranasal devices, and a carrying case while on duty at Pennsylvania state parks.

Many state parks have signage providing help for individuals struggling with addiction, including information on obtaining naloxone, finding SUD treatment, and educational tools.

For those seeking substance use disorder treatment or recovery resources, local resources can be found by visiting treatmentatlas.org or calling the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The ‘Hike for Healing’ event underscores the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to leveraging Pennsylvania’s natural resources in the fight against substance use disorder and promoting the overall well-being of its residents.

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