PA Becomes Largest Outdoor Recreation State to Establish Office

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable applauded the announcement of Pennsylvania’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation, created as Governor Josh Shapiro signed into law Pennsylvania’s single largest investment in parks and forests in decades to the tune of $112 million in the FY23-24 budget. ORR President, Jessica Turner, attended and introduced Governor Shapiro at the Yough River Park event marking the 20th State Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC) created across the United States.

Outdoor recreation generates $13.6 billion for the Commonwealth’s economy, is 1.6 percent of its GDP, and creates 151,531 jobs, making it the largest state by both population and outdoor recreation economy size to create an OREC. Dr. Nathan Reigner, the current Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation, will continue as director of the new office and work to leverage Pennsylvania’s myriad outdoor recreation assets with stakeholder groups from anglers and hunters to hikers and mountain bikers, and more to continue to build and improve the state’s outdoor recreation economy.

ORR’s President, Jessica Turner lauded the announcement saying, “Pennsylvania is the most populous state to create such an office and clearly recognizes the role outdoor recreation plays in the Commonwealth’s public health, quality of life, and economic competitiveness. We are delighted to celebrate the new Office of Outdoor Recreation as well as the historic investment in outdoor recreation infrastructure and look forward to supporting communities all across the state as they grow their outdoor recreation economies and rural development opportunities, and increase access for all residents and visitors.”

“People and organizations across the Commonwealth see the need for statewide coordination to connect communities to meaningful and competitive growth opportunities,” said Pennsylvania Director of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner, who will lead the Office of Outdoor Recreation. “We have gathered a significant amount of input and will continue to engage with stakeholders and communities to build up the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy of the 50 states, while maintaining the fun and adventure the outdoors provides.”

“It has been a real honor and pleasure to have Nathan Reigner, as Director of Outdoor Recreation, participating as a Prospective Member of the Confluence of States on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we offer our congratulations on this milestone,” said Brad Garmon, Senior Strategic Advisor & Executive Director for the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and 2023 Chair of the Confluence of States. “Reigner has also been learning and working right alongside colleagues and counterparts from across the country for months, and we are grateful for his professional skills and unique Keystone State insights as we work together to grow the outdoor economy, support business and communities and promote healthy outdoor lifestyles.”

“It’s great to see Pennsylvania take their outdoor recreation to a higher level,” said Jason Curry, Director of the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation. “As with the other states that have formal offices of outdoor recreation, the economic and health benefits are sure to be felt throughout the state.”