Aug. 11, 2017

Pennsylvania is fortunate to be the benefactor of past conservationists who understood the importance of preserving land for the creation of state parks. Thanks to those efforts, the Commonwealth is home to 121 state parks, which has resulted in a state park located within approximately 25 miles from every person in the state.

Our state parks offer something for everyone, including camping, swimming, boating, fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, photography, or simply taking long walks in the woods.

Attractions such as the waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park, Balanced Rock and the Ice Mine at Trough Creek State Park; the natural waterslide at Ohio Pyle State Park; the surf beach at Presque Isle State Park; or the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks are not to be missed. Plus, numerous shopping and historic attractions are located near many of the parks.

The first state park was established in 1893 at Valley Forge and since then Pennsylvania’s state park system has grown to encompass nearly 300,000 acres of property; 200 miles of bike trails; 30,000 acres of state park lakes; dozens of pools; and more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails. Many of the state parks also offer environmental educational programs for children.

If you’re planning a vacation, an outing with friends, a family reunion or just an afternoon picnic, remember our state parks.

Pennsylvania’s state park system is already a national award winner that attracts more than 38 million visitors a year. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is currently working on a strategic plan for Pennsylvania’s state parks going forward and is offering surveys to gain public input.

Input from these surveys will help guide future improvements and/or changes within the state park system. Interested individuals can take the survey online at

To poll visitors and the public on their vision of the future for Pennsylvania state parks, survey questions will include:

• Should current outdoor recreation opportunities or experiences be changed?
• Should park overnight accommodations be changed?
• How should state parks be financed?
• How can state parks best be protected?
• Should state parks offer modern conveniences?
• Are you satisfied with park services, facilities and activities?

Bureau of State Parks officials say their goal will be to have a preliminary report, influenced by the information gathered through the surveys, available in the fall of 2018, with a final report in 2019.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s state parks, you can log on to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ website at

Representative Curt Sonney
4th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman