SUNBURY – When’s the last time you visited a state park or forest? You may be surprised by the physical and emotional benefits of hiking a trail or taking a walk in a state park.
Marci Mowery, president of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, pointed out that simply sitting in a wooded area or enjoying the river views may help you get through a stressful day, “Even just buying a lunch in town and going out and sitting by a creek, having lunch and quiet time to de-stress from all the things we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.”
Mowery also detailed the environmental impact of state game lands and forests, like how tree canopies help to prevent flooding and keep our waterways clean, saving the state a good bit of money in the long run.
Speaking of the bottom line, Mowery said, “We rank fifth in the nation in terms of spending on outdoor recreation, which equates to about $29 billion and supports over 251,00 jobs. Oftentimes, this supports small businesses in local communities.”
Mowery added that the non-profit Foundation counts on 48 statewide groups to service 121 parks and 20 forest districts. Typically referred to as Friends Groups, these volunteer efforts keep parks and trails clean and welcoming for visitors.
You can learn more about the foundation and how to join a Friends Group by visiting paparksandforests.org. Head to our podcast page to hear Mowery’s full WKOK Sunrise interview.