Every five years, states across the nation are required to produce a new statewide recreation plan to remain eligible to receive federal Land and Water Conservation funds. Established in 1965 to invest in our nation’s land, water and wildlife heritage, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has supported local parks and historic sites; conserved forests, rivers, lakes and wildlife habitat; and provided access to recreation, hunting, and fishing across Pennsylvania for current and future generations.


Since 1965 Pennsylvania has received almost $165 million from the LWCF, which has supported more than 1,500 local parks.


Pennsylvania has produced a total of eight outdoor recreation plans since 1966. 


Work on the 2014-19 plan began in 2012 and kicked off officially in 2013 with the formation of the 41-member Technical Advisory Committee, composed of state agencies and organizations with a vested interest in the outdoor recreation estate of Pennsylvania and who represent agencies that can bring resources to the planning, funding and implementation of the plan. Through quarterly meetings, the TAC has helped to define priorities; clarify goals and objectives; and establish recommendations and action items contained in the plan’s implementation section.


Public participation is a vital component of the development of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan. The TAC served as a sounding board representing various recreation interest groups from the public and private sectors. Additionally, primary research was done to gather the feedback and insight of Pennsylvania residents, recreation enthusiasts and those that provide outdoor recreation services and facilities.


In 2014, Penn State University conducted a statistically valid random survey of 2,240 adult residents to understand outdoor recreation patterns and opinions regarding future recreation land conservation, facility development and management. A summary of the results of that survey is here.


More than 1,000 recreation providers, including local appointed officials, local elected official and park and recreation directors, responded to a survey gauging outdoor recreation services in their local communities and the challenges they face. A summary of the results of that survey can be found here.


An online survey was conducted in April 2014 to capture the thoughts and opinions of everyday Pennsylvanians who did not have an opportunity to answer the other surveys, but had an interest in outdoor recreation. A total of 7,159 people responded; more than 8,000 comments were captured through open-ended questions. A summary of those results can be found here.


The opinions and recommendations of these more than 10,000 people helped to shape the plan's draft recommendations.


A public comment period on the plan's draft recommendations was conducted in October. More than 650 comments were collected on the plan through three in-person meetings in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, and through an online survey.