HARRISBURG, Pa- The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation applauds the Pennsylvania General Assembly for recognizing the value of the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund and restoring it to the state budget. The estimated $30 million fund for the 2012-2013 fiscal year provides critical financial support for major maintenance and improvements in state parks and forests. The original budget threatened to eliminate the fund completely to help offset the Commonwealth's deficit.
'State parks and forests provide local opportunities for respite and recreation in both economic upswings and downturns,' said Marci Mowery, president of Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. 'The Keystone Fund is not just an expense, but a good investment, providing economic benefits as well as community recreation opportunities.'
Since 1994, the Keystone Fund invested more than $300 million in 3,000 local and statewide park, forest and recreation projects. These investments contributed to enhanced social and economic benefits for communities.
Every $1 of general fund revenue invested in state parks creates $12.41 in return value for Pennsylvania (2012 Pennsylvania State Park Impact Study).
The Commonwealth's parks and forests contribute to improved mental and physical health, providing hundreds of recreational opportunities from hiking and bird-watching to fishing and kayaking.
'We are pleased that the general assembly recognizes the value that Pennsylvania's parks and forests contribute to our quality of life, health and economy,' said Mowery. 'The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation looks forward to working with state legislators over the next year to further invest in these essential public assets.'
Founded in 1999, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities and donations through its 34 chapters. The nonprofit promotes outdoor recreation, healthier life styles and environmental education.
To learn more about the foundation, visit www.paparksandforest.org