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DCNR Celebrates Park and Recreation Professionals for Efforts Keeping Parks and Recreation Areas Open to the Public

07/15/2021

​Harrisburg, PA -- Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined local and statewide officials to celebrate Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Professionals Day at Friendship Park in Mechanicsburg.

“I am thankful for our parks and recreation professionals and their work to provide recreational opportunities to all people throughout the year,” Dunn said. “Pennsylvania has more than 6,000 local parks and the dedication of these professionals ensures our parks are open each day. We recognize your efforts in this community and communities across the commonwealth.”

Every third Thursday in July, the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society honors those who work tirelessly throughout the state to provide the parks and recreation programs and facilities that we enjoy every day. The 2021 celebration acknowledged those who plan, provide, and operate our parks, trails, programs and facilities for everyone, with special emphasis and thanks for the essential workers who kept parks open throughout the pandemic.

“The Mechanicsburg Area Community is fortunate to have established a joint agreement amongst Upper Allen Township, Mechanicsburg and Shiremanstown boroughs, and the Mechanicsburg School District,” said Mechanicsburg Area Parks and Recreation Director Tonya Brown. “The comprehensive program continues to provide recreational opportunities for all. We have worked together since the hiring of the first full-time recreation director in August of 1976. Prior to that, the school district hired staff to work at the local playgrounds and pool. It has been a privilege to work alongside so many diverse staff, volunteers, program instructors, lifeguards, and coaches to provide a comprehensive recreational program.”

More than 1,250 DCNR employees operate Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks comprised of more than 300,000 acres of land. All of Pennsylvania’s parks are free and open to the public from dawn until dusk, thanks to the hard work of DCNR’s staff.

Mechanicsburg Area Recreation has 16 parks totaling nearly 224 acres for its residents to enjoy. Its staff manage the parks and more than 300 programs, ranging from special events to summer camps and a host of activities for all ages and interest.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, and while we are seeing the number of cases and deaths decline, we have seen a rise in mental health challenges in all segments of the population,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “Outdoor exercise is a great way to prevent weight gain, reduce depression and lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and premature death. Having access to areas for recreation is essential to keeping Pennsylvanians healthy, both physically and mentally. I would like to thank the park and recreation professionals for continuing to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for people across the commonwealth.”

National Park and Recreation Professionals Day is Friday, July 16. To celebrate and honor your local parks and recreation providers, make a plan to visit a local park or recreation facility on Friday. Take the time to thank a programmer, manager, maintainer, landscaper, facilitator, lifeguard, coach, event organizer, or caretaker, and tell them what parks mean to you.

July is Park and Recreation Professionals Month, which celebrates the providers who keep parks and recreation areas open to the public year-round. To learn more about this day, visit the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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