Special Programs Await Campers at Many Pennsylvania State Parks

May 22, 2013, 14:53 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Both novice and experienced campers will find two promotional programs fueling new interests and activities as the Memorial Day weekend kicks off the traditional camping season at state parks across the state.

For the third year, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is partnering with Gander Mountain to provide first-time campers with needed gear and a reservation for two nights at participating state parks for just $20. Meanwhile, a new cooperative effort with The North Face will be offering staff-guided Family Camping Programs at parks; discounted park stays; and camper-oriented activity guides.

"Our state parks are busy rolling out the welcome mat for another fun-filled season and these two outdoors-oriented sponsors have offered a hand," DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said. "Both programs encourage and promote park camping, offering first-timer help and equipment for some; special assistance for families; and costs savings for all."

"The First Time Camper Program is being offered at 16 state parks across the state," Allan said. "You can't beat this offer as far as the cost and a chance to enjoy many other activities at our state parks such as hiking and fishing. A park staffer will even help you set up camp."

Sixteen state parks are participating: Black Moshannon, Centre County; Caledonia, Franklin County; Chapman, Warren County; Colonel Denning, Cumberland County; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Hills Creek, Tioga County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Lackawanna, Lackawanna County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; Locust Lake, Schuylkill County; Ole Bull, Potter County; Parker Dam, Clearfield County; Promised Land, Pike County; Raymond B. Winter, Union County; Ryerson Station, Greene County; and Sinnemahoning, Cameron and Potter counties.

Reservations can be made by calling the park office directly. The program runs from Memorial Day weekend through the summer.

Gear provided by Gander Mountain and DCNR includes a four-person tent; rain tarp; four sleeping pads; four camp chairs; flashlight; lantern; camp stove; and four hot dog/marshmallow sticks. The gear must be returned upon departure.

Participants will need their own food, cooking utensils and bedding. Suggested packing lists will be provided.

Family fun is the keystone of the partnership between DCNR and The North Face in which several state parks volunteered to offer staff-led, guided camping experiences from early June through early September. 

Seven state parks are participating in the Family Camping Program: Jacobsburg, Kings Gap, Ohiopyle, Pymatuning, Delaware Canal, Presque Isle and Yellow Creek.

"Visitors can look forward to an overnight camping experience in which we supply just about everything from cook stoves to needed supplies," Allan said. "We'll guide you the whole way -- from setting up your tent and making dinner to leading you on a guided hike or kayak adventure."

In addition, as part of this cooperative effort, an activity guide was created that focuses on state parks offering five outdoors pursuits:  camping, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and play.  Both the guides and coupons for a $10 discount off the fee for a second night of state park camping will be given out to anyone purchasing The North Face gear or clothing at any The North Face store or authorized retailer in Pennsylvania.  

With 120 state parks covering about 300,000 acres, there is a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian. The parks feature an array of recreational opportunities, provide a forum for multiple environmental education programs and conserve thousands of acres of unique natural areas, among many other features.

State parks also serve as economic generators to the communities that surround them, generating about a billion dollars annually in economic activity.

Details on the First Time Camper and Family Camping programs and information on Pennsylvania's state parks can be found at www.visitPAParks.com.

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources