Washington Crossing, PA - Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined other state officials, the Bureau of State Parks, and historic group representatives in marking state parks’ 125th anniversary at an event at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
“Throughout its 125 years, our state park system has been steeped in history that began in Valley Forge, and is celebrated here today on the grounds of Washington Crossing Historic Park,” Dunn said. “It is the inherent values of history, natural beauty and recreational potential that has earned our state parks national recognition, and we intend to keep working to make our state parks better by making them more appealing to visitors of all ages, and from all areas of the state.”
Washington Crossing was picked as the celebration site because it was most recently added to Pennsylvania’s system of 121 state parks. Rich in historical buildings and environmental education programs, the park is the site of George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River during the American Revolution, and is a National Historic Landmark.
To plan state parks for the future, while preserving its legacy, the Bureau of State Parks last year launched “Penn’s Parks For All,” a strategic planning process keyed to a public survey and management of the parks for the next 25 years.
More than 14,000 people responded online and at individual parks to a series of questions about recreation, overnight accommodations, resource protection, funding, and operations. The department also is seeking input from state park staff and DCNR stakeholder groups; as well as a special online survey reaching minorities and young adults.
Survey results will be shared later this year, and a final plan is due in late 2019.
“Our partnership with DCNR over the past two and one-half years has yielded some amazing results in not only making this a great park destination, but increasing our services to visitors. It is a best-case example of a successful public-private partnership,” said George Godzieba, president of Friends of Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Totaling almost 300,000 acres, Pennsylvania’s state parks received the 2009 distinction of being named the nation’s best by the National Recreation and Park Society. With more than 40 million annual visitors, Pennsylvania state parks and forests generate more than $1 billion a year for the state’s economy through visitor expenditures on hotel rooms, dinners, souvenirs, and other amenities.
A 2012 study by the Pennsylvania State University showed the return on taxpayer investment in our state parks alone was estimated at nearly $12.41 for every $1 invested.
More information on Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests can be found at www.dcnr.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, 717-705-2225; firstname.lastname@example.org.