Reports & Research


A Recreation Plan for the State Parks and State Forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds

In August 2004, DCNR established a process to develop a system-wide outdoor recreation plan for its Pennsylvania Wilds parks and forests. This effort was intended to support the Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative launched by Governor Edward G. Rendell earlier that year. The goal of the initiative is to grow outdoor recreation and heritage tourism across north central Pennsylvania consistent with responsible stewardship of the region's public lands. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) plays a lead role in the effort by providing outdoor recreation opportunities on the 29 state parks and 1.3 million acres of state forests in the Wilds.

The plan's overall objective is to improve access to recreation opportunities while maintaining DCNR's stewardship responsibilities. Fermata, Inc. of Austin, Texas was retained to develop the plan in conjunction with a group of professionals from the agency. The planning process included:

  • an inventory of the recreational assets and natural features of state parks, state forests, state gamelands, Allegheny National Forest, and the major Corps of Engineer facilities in the region;
  • an assessment of recreational experiences on key locations on state parks and state forests;
  • an analysis of the outdoor recreation activity trends in Pennsylvania and the five surrounding states;
  • special studies of Cherry Springs State Park and the Pine Creek Valley;
  • public outreach and feedback through a project website, and a series of public meetings; and
  • development of recommendations for staffing and organization, customer service and information, and infrastructure investments.

The following reports provide the detailed findings, background information and recommendations for improvements, which are the product of this planning process.

 

A Recreation Plan for the State Parks and State Forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds, Executive Summary
May 2006 (23 pages) - an overview of the key findings and recommendations for improving the delivery of outdoor recreation services on DCNR lands in this region.
Download printable Recreation Plan summary (.pdf--3.1MB)

 

A Recreation Plan for the State Parks and State Forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds
February 2006 (108 pages) - the full plan report including the findings and recommendations for staffing, communications and infrastructure improvements in the PA Wilds region.
Download printable Recreation Plan (.pdf--989k)

-- The following are appendices to the full Recreation Plan. --

Appendix 1
Outdoor Recreation in the 21st Century: The Pennsylvania Wilds, September 2005 (58 pages) - an analysis of outdoor recreation trends in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, based on the National Survey of Recreation and the Environment (NSRE), 1991 - 2005.
Download printable Appendix 1 (.pdf--5.2MB)

Appendix 2a
Pennsylvania Wilds Activity Profiles, September 2005 (78 pages) - a summary of trends, participation rates and participant characteristics for each of thirty-eight outdoor recreational activities important to the PA Wilds region.
Download printable Appendix 2a (.pdf--781k)

Appendix 2b
National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, October 2005 (194 pages) - a collection of data sets regarding activity participation, trends and demographics for Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Market Region.
Download printable Appendix 2b (.pdf--5.3MB)

Appendix 2c
2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation, October 2002 (116 pages) - the US Fish and Wildlife Service provides national and regional data on fish and wildlife based recreation, including information on trends, marketing strategies, and habitat management.
Download printable Appendix 2c (.pdf--1.1MB)

Appendix 2d
Outdoor Recreation Participation Study, Outdoor Industry Association, June 2005 (276 pages) - summary of the study of nationwide participation levels in outdoor activities, including descriptions of trends and behaviors of participants.
Download printable Appendix 2d (.pdf--1.1MB)

Appendix 3
Inventory, January 2006 (300 pages) - inventory of existing resources, visitor profiles, partners, special events and interpretive programs found in each state park and state forest in the PA Wilds; also includes information on the Allegheny National Forest, state game lands, and special regulation waters of the Fish and Boat Commission.
Download printable Appendix 3 (.pdf--1.1MB)

Appendix 4
Resource Assessments, January 2006 (204 pages) - summaries of the site assessments conducted by Fermata Inc. at 63 locations in state parks and state forests of the PA Wilds region.
Download printable Appendix 4 (.pdf--1.0MB)

Appendix 5a
Plan for Elk Watching and Nature Tourism in North Central Pennsylvania, Executive Summary, August 2002 (17 pages) - summary of the findings and recommendations for the growth and marketing of nature tourism and elk viewing in the PA Wilds region.
Download printable Appendix 5a (.pdf--3.9MB)

Appendix 5b
Plan for Elk Watching and Nature Tourism in North Central Pennsylvania, August 2002 (73 pages) - complete plan that provides descriptive assessments and detailed findings and recommendations for the growth and marketing of nature tourism and elk viewing in the PA Wilds.
Download printable Appendix 5b (.pdf--4.5MB)

Appendix 5c
Plan for Elk Watching and Nature Tourism in North Central Pennsylvania, August 2002 (95 pages) - complete plan that provides descriptive assessments and detailed findings and recommendations for the growth and marketing of nature tourism and elk viewing in the PA Wilds.
Download printable Appendix 5c (.pdf--3.2MB)

Appendix 6
Nature Tourism Business Incubator, Sinnemahoning State Park, December 2004 (56 pages) - this report recommends the development of a business incubator facility to be used for nature related business and entrepreneurial development consistent with the DCNR mission at Sinnemahoning State Park.
Download printable Appendix 6 (.pdf--3.0MB)

Appendix 7
Pennsylvania Wilds Dark Skies, December 2004 (30 pages) - an early implementation report for Cherry Springs State Park that recommends improvements to the park to protect the dark sky resource and better service the exceptional stargazing and astronomy related activities at Cherry Springs.
Download printable Appendix 7 (.pdf--1.8MB)

Appendix 8
Pine Creek Valley Early Action Recommendations, August 2005 (42 pages) - provides recommendations to enhance recreational opportunities in the valley and surrounding state parks and state forests while taking steps to maintain the undeveloped character of the area.
Download printable Appendix 8 (.pdf--4.7MB)

Appendix 9
Lumber Heritage Region Interpretive Plan, September 2005 (138 pages) - a guide for the development of an interpretive plan to articulate the message of the country's second largest heritage region.
Download printable Appendix 9 (.pdf--10.8MB)

Appendix 10
Position Descriptions, January 2006 (10 pages) - example job descriptions from the National Forest Service for the classification of recreation related job positions.
Download printable Appendix 10 (.pdf--401k)

Appendix 11
Sample Trail Standards, January 2006 (5 pages) - several easy-to-read tables show trail standards from New York State, the North Country Trail, and the PA Trail Design Manual for guidance in establishing new trails and improving existing trails.
Download printable Appendix 11 (.pdf--760k)

 

Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Development Plan
March 23 2007 (16 pages) - Download printable Artisan Development Plan (.pdf--212k)

-- The following are other documents related to the Artisan Project Report. --

Artisan Project Progress Report
18 months (June 2006 to December 2007), January 2008 (6 pages) - Download printable Artisan Project Progress Report (.pdf--107k)

Artisan Project Progress Report
July 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009, March 2009 (3 pages) - Download printable Artisan Project Progress Report (.pdf--32k)

The Word on the Wilds article
Workgroup Crafts Pennsylvania Wilds Artisans Plan , 2007 (1 page) - Download printable Artisan article (.pdf--11k)

 

Clarion River Recreation Assessment
July 2007 (20 pages) - Download printable Clarion River Recreation Assessment (.pdf--1.5MB)