BOILING SPRINGS – Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Department of Community and Economic Development Acting Secretary Neil Weaver, and Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Tim Schaeffer visited TCO Fly Shop in Boiling Springs, Cumberland County, Monday, to highlight the significance of outdoor recreation to the economy and to the well-being of all Pennsylvanians.
“There’s no doubt that being active and gathering outdoors got many people through the pandemic, and those experiences have reminded us about what we already knew – that outdoor recreation plays a big role in our health and well-being,” Dunn said. “There is also no doubt that outdoor recreation plays a big role in Pennsylvania’s economy. We are fortunate to have a wealth of public lands, waters, and energetic entrepreneurs that, combined with Pennsylvanians’ love for the outdoors, have created a great environment for outdoor recreation businesses.”
New Director of Recreation
Dunn noted that at the beginning of this year, DCNR hired Pennsylvania’s first Director of Outdoor Recreation, Nathan Reigner, to help ensure the outdoor recreation sector is supported, thriving, and welcoming to all through equitable access, investments, conservation, collaboration, and business development. Reigner will work with those conserving and managing the lands, waters, and facilities used for these activities; and the institutions, organizations, services, and businesses that support and enable outdoor recreation.
“The appointment of Nathan Reigner is a huge step forward for outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania. His leadership will be invaluable to growing the outdoor recreation economy in the state, as well as supporting rural economies and increasing access for all residents and visitors,” said Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Turner.
Pennsylvania has the sixth largest outdoor recreation economy in the country
“From mountains to lakes and everything in between, Pennsylvania has an outdoor activity for everyone,” Weaver said. “Each region and season provides many activities for residents and visitors alike, and many towns see an economic benefit from tourism each year. With so many wonderful outdoor recreational activities available and our prime northeast location, it’s no wonder many businesses choose to plant their roots in Pennsylvania.”
Situated along Children’s Lake and the Appalachian Trail, TCO Fly Shop provides fly-fishing equipment, clothing, and guide services as well as hiking and trail supplies.
“Here at TCO, we have seen considerable growth in the outdoor enthusiast market during the pandemic. In particular, the popularity of fly-fishing has greatly increased over these past 2-3 years,” said TCO President Tony Gehman. “We believe that in such a fast-paced modern world, nature is calling to all of us in a different way than ever before. People have found an escape from their day-to-day troubles in our forests and on our rivers. As we continue to welcome new anglers into fly fishing, we are more excited than ever about the future of our sport and our resources here in Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania’s waters provide excellent fishing opportunities. In 2021, more than 920,000 anglers purchased a fishing license, marking a continued resurgence in the popularity of fishing and boating as affordable, family-friendly outdoor activities.
“Communities that embrace fishing and boating and invest in greater public access to the water enjoy incredible social and economic benefits in return,” said Schaeffer. “Each year, recreational fishing generates an estimated $721-million-dollar economic impact statewide, while watersports including powered boating and paddling contribute an estimated $6 billion dollars annually to Pennsylvania’s economy.”