We hope you enjoy meeting the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, as presented in our Fall 2017 newsletter.

DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation: Who We Are and What We Do

By: Thomas Ford, Director BRC

“Building connections between people and the outdoors” – that’s the role of the DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC), which it accomplishes through community engagement and an investment in recreation and conservation. In doing so, the BRC makes a huge impact not only on the economy, but on the quality of life of all citizens in the Commonwealth.

Recently, the Outdoor Industry Association released its “Outdoor Recreation Economy Report,” which demonstrates the impact of this industry. In 2017, Pennsylvania ranked fifth overall in the nation in terms of the annual economic impact of outdoor recreation, generating $29.1 billion in consumer spending, $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, $6.6 billion in wages and salaries, and directly sustaining 251,000 Pennsylvania jobs.

Working behind the scenes to makes these numbers possible, is BRC’s small, yet mighty, team of professionals who provide technical and financial assistance to communities across the Commonwealth to help them realize their visions for community parks, trails, open space, and rivers. Financial assistance is available through grants from a variety of funding sources, bundled into the Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

Eligible applicants for grant funding include municipalities, municipal agencies/authorities, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, pre-qualified land trusts, and for-profit enterprises for some funding sources. Information about the Community Conservation Partnerships Program can be found at www.dcnr.pa.gov/Communities/Grants.

Next year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, one of several DCNR grant funding sources. The Keystone Fund website provides a wealth of information regarding the impact it has on the Commonwealth, local communities, and citizens – all of which BRC is privileged to have played a role.

To learn more, visit the Keystone Fund website at www.KeystoneFund.org


  • There are 6,000 local parks across Pennsylvania (maps.dcnr.pa.gov/localparks), where a majority of the outdoor recreation takes place!
  • Since 1993, the Keystone Fund alone has resulted in an investment of more than $1 billion in over 4,500 projects, includingc300-plus trail projects; conservation of nearly 120,000 acres of open space; and 2,400-plus local/community park projects.
  • Pennsylvania has a trail network second to none in the country, and the BRC is committed to closing Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Trail Gaps by the end of 2019! www.gis.dcnr.state.pa.us/storymaps/trailgaps
  • The Jim Thorpe Pedestrian Bridge in Carbon County is one of Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Trail Gaps. When the bridge is completed this year, it will create a 60-mile continuous trail corridor on the D&L Trail in Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania recently won the State Program Innovation Award from the Environmental Council of the States for our Pennsylvania Brownfields to Playfields Initiative.


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