One such activity that has proven popular with Pennsylvanians is hitting the trails at the Keystone State’s 121 state parks.
In fact, a poll released by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which manages state parkland, found that 86% of visited parks, trails and open spaces agree time spent in these areas has been essential to their mental and/or physical health during the pandemic.
Additional Findings75 … the percentage of respondents who agree that funding outdoor recreation facilities, such as parks, trails and open spaces, should be considered a top priority by state and local governments.
37 … the percentage of respondents that said their interest in learning new outdoor recreation and hobbies/skills increased since the pandemic began.
By the NumbersSo just how many people hit the commonwealth’s trails in 2020?
DCNR saw an increase of 7.5 million users/visitors to its website in 2020 over the previous year, including more than 4 million new users.
State park attendance has increased from 37 million in 2019 to more than 46.9 million in 2020, a 26.6% increase.
About half of all respondents visited a local trail or park.
Outdoor EconomicsAccording to the poll, about one out of five respondents tried a new recreational activity.
Another one out of five respondents bought outdoor recreation equipment, gear or clothing.
42% spent $50-$249,
Nearly 17% spent $250-$499,
10% spent $500-$749,
And 5% spent $1000 or more.
Cassie Miller is a reporter with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star where this story first appeared.