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Outdoor Recreation Boosted Pennsylvania’s Economy by Billions

It contributed $13.64 billion to the state’s economy last year, accounting for 152,000 jobs and a 1.6 percent increase in GDP. RV camping contributed the most of all outdoor activities, exceeding $700 million in value.

(TNS) — The state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week announced that outdoor recreation contributed $13.64 billion to Pennsylvania's economy, accounting for 152,000 jobs, and 1.6 percent of the commonwealth's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) statistics.

"This latest round of economic data proves again that the excellence of Pennsylvania's outdoor recreation is the product of our remarkable landscapes and strong partnerships," said Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner. "Outdoor recreation continues to be a thriving and significant industry within the commonwealth and this data helps us better understand what we are doing well, while also providing guidance on where we can grow this industry for its own sake and to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians. Unlike economic development through other industries, development through outdoor recreation also stimulates physical health, mental well-being, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability."

The $13.6 billion outdoor recreation added to the commonwealth's GDP is up 22 percent from 2020 and the increase of 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs is up 4 percent from 2020. Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the nation, supported by a combination of exceptional recreational assets, generally diversified economy, and strong retail, manufacturing, and tourism sectors.

Among core outdoor activities, recreational vehicle (RV) camping makes up the greatest single contribution to Pennsylvania's outdoor economy, exceeding $700 million in value added in 2021, up 17 percent over the previous year. RVing is followed by substantial economic contributions from boating and fishing ($555 million); hunting, shooting, and trapping ($354 million); and ATV and motorcycle riding ($304 million).

These and other recreational activities are spurring economic productivity in supporting industries as well, including nearly $4 billion of travel and tourism activity from and more than $1 billion from local recreational trips made by Pennsylvanians. Nationally, outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output, accounting for approximately 3 percent of all jobs in America.

Reigner noted that recreation activities are diversifying, with new users inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and empowered by new recreation technologies from advanced gear to more readily available information. Additionally, the advent of remote work has made possible recreation-based lifestyles that attract remote workers to become new residents in communities with abundant and accessible recreational opportunities.

He added that Pennsylvania's Office of Outdoor Recreation, created by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, will work to grow the state's outdoor economy though collaboration with other government agencies, businesses, communities, economic developers, user groups, and recreation resource managers.

Though Pennsylvania's total compensation for outdoor recreation work ranks seventh among all states, its rate of compensation growth is 38th among all states. Reigner noted this as an area where Pennsylvania can make progress, pointing to outdoor recreation workers making about 57 percent the wages of the average Pennsylvania worker, $44,623 in 2021, compared with $77,884 for all salaried jobs in the state.

Bear Check Station Changes Site in Lycoming County

Kicking off on Saturday, Nov. 19, the regular firearms bear season will be here before you know it, and hunters in and around Lycoming County need to be aware a check station location has changed.

The check station at Trout Run Fire Hall, north of Williamsport along state Route 14, will operate as planned on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on each day.

There also will be a check station at the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Northcentral Region Office, 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore, which also will operate on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on each day.

The check station at the Northcentral Region Office is not included on the list of regular firearms bear season check stations provided in the 2022-23 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest. That's because it's a recent change to accommodate hunters who ordinarily would have checked bears at the Antes Fort Fire Hall. The fire company has opted not to host a check station this year, so that check station instead will be held at the Northcentral Region Office, which is less than a quarter-mile away.

Hunters are advised that the Antes Fort Fire Hall remains on the list of check stations on Page 41 of the Hunting & Trapping Digest, but those who go there will be redirected to the region office.

Meanwhile, all bear hunters should be advised the days and hours of operation have changed for check stations statewide this year. All check stations will operate on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on each day. Hunters who harvest bears on Monday, Nov. 21, or the season's final day, Tuesday, Nov. 22, should call the Game Commission's Centralized Dispatch Center at 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD for instructions on having their bears checked.

In the extended bear season, which overlaps all or a portion of the firearms deer season and is held in 16 of 23 Wildlife Management Units, bear check stations are open on various dates and times. Those check stations and their dates and hours of operation are found on Page 42 of the 2022-23 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest.

Pa. Game Commission Northeast Region Office Open Friday, Nov. 25

Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region Director Daniel Figured announces that the Northeast Region Office will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, to accommodate persons wishing to purchase a hunting license.

"There is an annual rush to purchase general hunting licenses just prior to the regular firearms deer season and many state offices will be closed that Friday," Figured said. "We try to accommodate the increase in demand by offering additional office hours for license sales."

Normal business hours of the Northeast Region Office are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is located at 3917 Memorial Highway in Dallas.

North Branch Land Trust Seeking Members

As the chilly weather seeps into Northeastern Pennsylvania and we settle into a time of gratitude and reflection, North Branch Land Trust thanks supporters for their commitment to protect the clean air, land, water, and vistas that make this region an amazing place to live.

"With your membership, you help advance conservation projects across Northeastern Pennsylvania and forge vital connections between our communities and our natural landscapes," said Ellen Ferretti, executive director.

With your support, Ferretti said NBLT:

Partnered with PA American Water and our neighbors to successfully receive grant funding to preserve 220 gorgeous, forested acres surrounding the iconic Huntsville Reservoir, a vital drinking water source for 30,000 people and habitat for the precious species that thrive on these lands.

Partnered with Sen. Lisa Baker and PA DCNR to create the first-ever State Park in Wyoming County, Vosburg Neck State Park. For many years known as the Howland Preserve, these lands have provided habitat protection, nature trails and glorious access to the mighty Susquehanna River at Vosburg Neck. Now, the preserve will be in good hands as part of the Award-Winning Pennsylvania State Park system. North Branch Land Trust has placed an easement on the Howland Preserve in accordance with the Will of Mr. Howland, to conserve these lands...forever.

Is finishing up another mile of the D&L National Heritage Corridor Trail near the PA DCNR State Forest's Seven Tubs Nature Area. Once completed, this section will be a vital link along the 165-mile D&L hiking/biking trail from Easton to Wilkes-Barre!

Been able to reach hundreds more with our conservation mission by increasing our social presence, educational offerings, and general outpouring of information on the natural world that supports us via social media, televised interviews, regional publications, partnership with Discover NEPA and Fox 56 The Great Outdoors, and so much more.

Has increased the number of events at the Forest Echo Bird Sanctuary and Hanover Marsh and Picton Preserves, and added unique venues, such as the Guardian Society event and the Barn Banquet at Friedman Farms with a superb country menu from Bank & Vine to highlight our long roots in agricultural preservation and local farming — as well as a thanks to the local farms and the farmers!

Is launching The Mary Louise and Eberhard Faber Conservation Scholarship Fund, to support the next generation of conservationists!

"We hope you will consider supporting the critical mission of your Land Trust during our Annual Appeal," Ferretti said.

Ferretti said a gift of any size will help to conserve new lands, protect and manage our preserves for nature education and appreciation, and continue to spread the message of stewardship further as we plan for the coming year.

(c)2022 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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