Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to share what they like to do outdoors in an on-line survey that should take no more than five minutes to complete.
“Please make sure your voice is heard by taking the survey,” said Ellen Ferretti, secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Results of the survey will be incorporated into a new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan: 2014-15, which is being developed by DCNR.
DCNR is working with experts across the state to develop the plan, which will help guide future recreation investments, policies and facilities.
“Five years after the current Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan was written, recreation interests and trends may be different,” said Ferretti in a news release.
“We’d like to know if walking is still Pennsylvanians' favorite outdoor activity. Do people still want trails and on-road bike lanes? “
In addition to a scientifically conducted survey done earlier this year by Penn State and a survey of recreation providers currently being performed, a general online survey is now open for Pennsylvanians wanting to share their opinions about outdoor recreation.
Citizen feedback is an important component to building the goals of the plan, according to DCNR officials.
The on-line survey is completely confidential and will just take a few minutes to do.
After results of all three surveys are analyzed, a draft plan will be written in late summer and will be available for review and comment on the plan’s website.
Feedback sessions will allow citizens, providers and interested stakeholders to give their input before a final document is presented to the National Park Service later this year.
Doing a new plan every five years keeps Pennsylvania eligible for federal Land and Water Conservation funding.
The current plan identifies walking for pleasure or fitness as the most popular outdoor recreation activity in Pennsylvania. Other popular activities include sightseeing, driving for pleasure, nature watching, swimming, picnicking and bicycling.
Past survey respondents listed bike lanes, dog parks, rental cabins and wildlife viewing areas as the facilities they would most like to see increased.
Studies show greater access to outdoor recreation facilities, particularly close-to-home walking and biking opportunities, makes our communities better places to live; can assist in combating obesity -- a serious health threat to adults and children; and also increase tourism potential, which can increase economic opportunities.