Pennsylvania State Parks
The State Parks In Pennsylvania Cover More Than 283,000 Acres Of Land
The Pennsylvania State Parks system is among the largest in the United States, although the state ranks just 33rd in size, only Alaska and California have more park land.
There are one hundred and twenty areas designated as State Parks in Pennsylvania but nine of them do not have the words "state park" in their name.
The system covers almost one percent of the total land mass of the state and of the 67 counties that make up Pennsylvania, 61 of them have a park.
Authority for running the Pennsylvania State Parks lies with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and they have a Bureau of State Parks who are responsible for the management.
The Beautiful Pennsylvania Countryside At Worlds End State Park
The state parks in Pennsylvania cover more than 283,000 acres of land and receive around 36 million visitors a year. They also provide full time employment for over six hundred people and part time jobs for another 1,600.
The proud boast of the state is that entrance to every one of their parks is free. However, charges are made for some of the facilities within the parks, for example, rentals for cabins.
Presque Isle State Park On Lake Erie
The first of the Pennsylvania State Parks was purchased on the 30th of May 1893 and this was the Valley Forge State Park which was created to preserve the 1777-1778 military camp of the American Continental Army during the Revolutionary war.
This state park became part of the National Parks System when it was transferred on the Bicentennial of the creation of the United States on July 4th 1976. Mont Alto State Park, formed in 1902, is therefore the oldest of the current state parks in Pennsylvania.
The aim of the Pennsylvania State Parks is to preserve both historic sites and areas of natural beauty as well as providing recreational opportunities to the people of the state.
Examining the history of the parks system shows that they have succeeded with this aim. Forty two of the state parks in Pennsylvania are on the National Register of Historic Places and the number of visitors to the park each year show that they are providing the sort of facilities and environment that appeal to the public.
Black Moshannon State Park, Pennsylvania
Although the system officially dates back to 1893 there was not a rapid expansion in the numbers of parks. Up until the 1930`s only a few had been added from time to time. However, with the Great Depression the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, used the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in a public building program. They were responsible for creating a number of state parks in Pennsylvania during this era, so that by 1955 there were forty four parks in the system.
Around this time Pennsylvania appointed a new director to the authority overseeing the parks. His name was Maurice K. Goddard and he was to serve the state for twenty four years. Under his leadership forty five more state parks in Pennsylvania were created by 1979. He was honored for his work and long service when a park bearing his name was opened in 1972.
Jonathan`s Run Falls At Ohiopyle State Park
The number of visitors to the parks during his tenure increased dramatically and two bond issues were made which raised millions of dollars for expansion and improvement.
The number of state parks in Pennsylvania continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than previously, Nescopeck State Park opened in 2005 and is one of the newest parks.
The range and size of the Pennsylvania State Parks is extremely varied, for example, Sand Bridge State Park is only three acres whilst Pymatuning State Park is the largest at 21,122 acres.
There are also some very unique and unusual parks. Oil Creek State Park encloses the site of the world`s very first succesfully drilled oil well. The birthplace of the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan, is protected within Buchanan`s Birthplace State Park.
Stone Pyramid That Marks The Birthplace Of President James Buchanan
One of the world`s largest potholes is found in Archbald Pothole State Park and Warriors Path State Park is named for an Iroquois Indian Warpath used when raiding the Cherokee and other Native American tribes.
The facilities of the Pennsylvania State Parks include 286 cabins for rent, 10 marinas for boating, 7,000 campsites with 30,000 picnic tables, 56 major lakes with 61 beaches and 17 swimming pools. There are also over 1,000 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and riders.
The state parks in Pennsylvania have everything!
The controlling authority for the parks is the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and more specifically their Bureau of State Parks. If you would like to find out more about the parks, such as events, reservations, prices and maps then
here is their website
for you to contact and here is their telephone number -
This is a list of all the state parks-
Here is a map of Pennsylvania showing the major towns and routes -
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