Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced expansion of a program offering visitors free sunscreen at state park beaches and swimming pools throughout Pennsylvania.
“We are extremely grateful that the Department of Health and its Division of Cancer Prevention is again partnering with us to support and expand this important project,” Dunn said. “With the approach of July Fourth signaling the ‘Fun in the Sun’ season in full swing, we want to promote safe outdoor activity, while reminding outdoors enthusiasts that more than 8,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each day. These dispensers should prove invaluable to visitors to our lakes, beaches, and pools who may overlook sunscreen when packing for a day’s outing.”
Beginning in summer 2017, DCNR’s Bureau of State Parks began supplying free sunscreen at Fuller Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County, and at the swimming pool at Codorus State Park in York County. The program has now been expanded to 13 state parks and an additional swimming beach at Presque Isle, Erie County.
Beyond Presque Isle’s Beach No. 6, free sunscreen dispensers are offered for the first time at swimming pools at Mount Pisgah State Park, Bradford County, and Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County, and lake swimming areas at Cowans Gap State Park, Fulton County, and Beltzville State Park, Carbon County.
Feedback from Pine Grove Furnace and Codorus state parks encouraged DCNR to expand by adding additional parks to what began as a pilot program. Other state parks offering sunscreen include: Bald Eagle (beach), Centre County; Gifford Pinchot (beach), York County; Nockamixon (swimming pool), Bucks County; Little Buffalo, Perry County; Laurel Hill, Somerset County; Presque Isle, Erie County; and Caledonia, Franklin County.
Before this summer’s expansion, the Bureau of State Parks noted the sunscreen dispenser program had the potential of reaching more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians. Some of the recently-added locations are within counties reporting a high incidence of melanoma, a life-threatening form of skin cancer. Health officials report one-in-40 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime.
For a fourth year, all park costs are again covered by the Department of Health’s Cancer Fund, with each park receiving close to $750 worth of equipment to participate.
Throughout the summer season, state park staff will oversee and maintain sunscreen dispensers. Two pole-mounted, battery-operated dispensers, supplying 30+ SPF BrightGuard sunscreen applications, will be positioned at each park.
Sunscreen ingredients are listed on sides of the tamper-proof units by the company, which has provided educational training for park staff. Experts say daily application of a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher can aid in prevention of skin cancer.
At season’s end, the Bureau of State Parks will continue to evaluate the program to determine if further expansion is warranted. It also is pursuing opportunities to collaborate with local health organizations for future expansion of the program.