Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn released the new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and announced DCNR 2020 grants for community parks, small communities and partnerships.
Newtown Borough received $70,000 for the development of the Bird-in-Hand Lot. Work will include construction of a parking area and pedestrian walkways, installation of lighting and utilities, ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
The Recreation for All plan is a blueprint including 20 recommendations and 70 action steps for meeting the outdoor recreation needs of all Pennsylvanians. Grants announced are the core of DCNR’s municipal investment program, providing for planning and development or rehabilitation of local community parks and recreation facilities.
“Now more than ever, we have experienced the impact of outdoor recreation on our mental and physical wellbeing,” Dunn said. “Pennsylvania’s new outdoor recreation plan serves as a blueprint on how we can make outdoor recreation accessible to every Pennsylvanian.”
In October 2018, DCNR began a more than a year-long public process of developing the state’s outdoor recreation plan, required every five years by the federal government to receive funding.
The plan was developed with input of nearly 12,000 Pennsylvanians, including recreation providers, outdoor enthusiasts and the public at large.
“This plan was developed for Pennsylvanians, by Pennsylvanians,” Dunn said. “Through surveys, research and our technical advisory committee, we developed 20 recommendations and 70 action steps that can guide investments and programs over the next five years. While DCNR leads the plan, implementing it is a team effort of other state agencies as well as recreation, conservation and health partners to together tackle challenges and embrace opportunities.”
Guided by a 40-member Technical Advisory Committee, the plan’s priorities, recommendations and actions were finalized before the challenges of COVID-19 and protests around racial injustice, but the framework for state outdoor recreation addresses those and other pressing challenges of today. Specifically, the plan prioritizes health and wellness and recreation for all, as well as sustainable systems, funding and economic development, and technology.
The goal of the state outdoor recreation plan is to help all Pennsylvanians achieve greater access and enjoyment from experiences in the commonwealth’s abundance of local and state parks, state and national forests, trails, rivers, lakes, game lands and other recreation spaces.
DCNR is launching a new story map that outlines the five priority areas for outdoor recreation in the statewide plan and the key action steps as another tool to engage stakeholders and communities in the work.
Additionally, 158 community park and partnership projects across the state will receive a total of approximately $23.4 million in grants. In the coming weeks, the department will announce other grants in phases addressing river conservation and riparian buffers, trails, and acquisitions – land trust and community.
More than 400 applications requesting almost $105 million in grant funds were received in April. Through a competitive review process, the applications were reviewed, evaluated, scored and ranked.
Visit dcnr.pa.gov/ for more information.