The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation has long promoted the health, quality of life, and economic value of our community and state parks and forests. The pandemic reinforced what we knew—getting outdoors is good for us as well as the economies of surrounding communities.
You have also heard us discuss the need for investment in the repairs and upgrades to the built and natural infrastructure of our public lands—to the tune of $1 billion for state parks and forests (while community parks need an equal amount of money).
A chance exists to secure much needed funding for these needed repairs and upgrades through the American Rescue Plan.
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation applauds Senators John Gordner and Bob Mensch who recognize the valuable role parks and forests play as well as the needs they have. The Senators propose to dedicate $500 million of Pennsylvania’s share of the Federal American Rescue Plan for a Growing Greener III, a portion of which would address infrastructure needs in parks and forests.
While a bill has not yet been introduced, we encourage you to contact your elected officials to encourage them to support investment in park and forest infrastructure repair and maintenance through the American Rescue Plan (and perhaps the infrastructure funds also being discussed in Washington.) These funds would be a valuable addition to the Keystone Fund and the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the existing funds which address repair and upgrade needs, demand for which exceed these funds capacities.
Our parks and forests are being used in record numbers, with state parks alone seeing a 26% increase in use with over 45 million visitors in 2020.
When surveyed, Pennsylvanians support, time and time again, investment in maintaining the places we know and love. To learn more about park and forest needs, visit our website: ProtectOurParksAndForests.org.
Please lend your voice to supporting efforts to have parks and forests receive critical federal funding, an act that will not only conserve these places, but will stimulate jobs, protect the environment, and improve human health.
Visit our Take Action Center for a sample letter to send to your elected officials. A few blanks are included for you to personalize your relationship with your favorite places. Thank you.