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Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Joins Small Business Roundtable to Build Partnerships, Highlight Shapiro Administration Priorities Around $17 Billion Outdoor Recreation Economy


​Petersburg, PA -- Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner recently facilitated an Outdoor Business Roundtable at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center to highlight state resources to build outdoor recreation in the Commonwealth.

Representatives from more than 20 businesses and economic development partners gathered for the roundtable discussion hosted by the Penn State Small Business Development Center to assess challenges and opportunities for developing outdoor businesses in Central Pennsylvania.

Governor Josh Shapiro recently launched the Outdoor Business Alliance to help build capacity and organize Pennsylvania’s outdoor business industry.

“Just three weeks ago, Governor Shapiro launched Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Business Alliance to help the Commonwealth be responsive to outdoor business and work at their speed,” Reigner said. “We are making good on that mandate to help organize our outdoor industry and build entrepreneurial ecosystems for outdoor businesses. To do this, we need to hear from businesses to understand their needs. Engaging at forums like this are the action steps the Office of Outdoor Recreation is taking to listen and respond to our outdoor industry.”

The Alliance will create opportunities for our outdoor recreation businesses to collaborate with one another; develop a one-stop shop for questions related to permits, regulations; and help Pennsylvania small businesses compete in the national outdoor recreation economy.

“A vibrant and resilient economy is critical for the economic competitiveness of our region,” said Tim Keohane, Director of the Penn State Small Business Development Center. “Few industries capture the spirit and deliver results like our vibrant and resilient outdoor businesses. These are businesses with heart and soul that are as committed to their communities as they are their customers.”

The meeting, which is a part of the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Engage! initiative (PDF) focused on the Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance.

DCED has been key in the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

Outdoor recreation adds $17 billion annually to Pennsylvania’s economy and supports 164,000 jobs.

“We are excited for the opportunities to help spur innovation in the outdoor industry and develop its workforce,” said Jen Gilburg, DCED Deputy Secretary for Technology and Entrepreneurship. “This industry has done a great job to grow with limited resources. The Shapiro Administration, through the Office of Outdoor Recreation, is committed to investing in and creating new opportunities that allow Pennsylvania outdoor businesses to grow and innovate, delivering real results for Pennsylvania and its economy.”

Reigner led a statewide listening tour that brought in more than 500 business, government, and community leaders in the outdoor industry.

The Office of Outdoor Recreation recently released the Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania Conclusions Report and Roadmap for the Future (PDF), which creates an action plan to grow outdoor recreation’s positive impact on communities, creating jobs and economic opportunity, and providing pathways to enjoy the outdoors.

The Outdoor Business Alliance is a result of the feedback received during a statewide tour that informed the launch of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

“Thank you to Governor Shapiro and the Office of Outdoor Recreation for seeing the importance in investing in businesses like mine,” said Orlando Rodriguez, Owner of Rich Port Adventure Company in Muncy. “By investing in our business, Pennsylvania is investing in our community through the people we feed, the experiences we provide and the connections we help build.”

Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal also includes another strong investment in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, with $8.5 million new funding to build trails and $5 million to expand the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program.

Visit DCNR’s website for more information about outdoor recreation opportunities, and check out DCNR’s Calendar of Events for events on public lands.

MEDIA CONTACTWesley Robinson, DCNR, 717-877-6315
                                    Penny Ickes, DCED

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