Promising Practices of Outdoor Recreation

In August, PEC participated in a webinar hosted by Fourth Economy on Promising Practices of Outdoor Recreation Economies. PEC has worked for years to help connect Pennsylvanians to their local natural assets and has promoted outdoor recreation as a way for communities impacted by extractive industries to rebuild around more sustainable sources of economic investment.

“Tying together local communities’ conservation of the landscape — that can actually produce their economic benefits directly to their community. Those two things create a very positive loop,” said PEC Senior VP Patrick Starr, one of five outdoor industry experts participating in the webinar panel.

“This approach can apply to communities that have been left behind by other strategies,” said Silas Chamberlin, Ph.D., Vice President of Economic and Community Development, York County Economic Alliance, who moderated the panel.

At a broad perspective, PEC views the outdoor recreation economy as a gateway for environmental stewardship.

This strategy can also benefit urban and suburban communities. PEC has worked with partners in the Circuit Trails Coalition to advocate for building and connecting trails throughout the greater Philadelphia region. A better network of urban trails can help facilitate connection to nature and provide safer opportunities to travel, exercise, and socialize outdoors.

“An important part of this process was being a cheerleader for the trail to get built and being supportive by listening and learning from residents’ lived experience, community leaders who know better, and building relationships with partners on the ground,” said East Coast Greenway Alliance’s Mid Atlantic Manager, Daniel Paschall.

Done right, investment in outdoor recreation can spark a lifelong love for nature and the environment.

“At a broad perspective, PEC views the outdoor recreation economy as a gateway for environmental stewardship,” said Starr.