The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is again partnering with Gander Mountain to provide first-time campers with needed gear and a reservation for two nights at a participating state park for just $20, according to a news release.
“This is the second year we are offering this hands-on instruction on camping and we’ve added five additional parks to the original 14,” DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said. “You can’t beat this offer as far as the cost; the opportunity to enjoy many other activities at our state parks such as hiking and fishing; and a park staffer will even help you set up camp.”
Nineteen state parks around the state are participating in the program. The parks and their locations are: Black Moshannon, Centre County; Caledonia, Franklin County; Chapman, Warren County; Colonel Denning, Cumberland County; Cook Forest/Clear Creek, Clarion and Jefferson counties; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Hills Creek, Tioga County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Lackawanna, Lackawanna County; Laurel Hill, Somerset County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; Locust Lake, Schuylkill County; Ole Bull, Potter County; Parker Dam, Clearfield County; Promised Land, Pike County; Pymatuning, Crawford County; R.B. Winter, Union County; Ryerson Station, Greene County; and Sinnemahoning, Cameron and Potter counties.
The program will run from Memorial Day weekend through the summer.
The gear provided for use by Gander Mountain and DCNR is 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 to bring their own food, cooking utensils and bedding. Suggested packing lists will be provided.
“Our love of nature often begins in our childhood if we have the opportunity to connect with the outdoors, so we especially encourage parents to take advantage of this affordable opportunity to create some wonderful family memories,” Allan said.
Last summer, in the program’s first year, there were 180 reservations made to participate, with more than half of those who took a survey saying they had never before visited a Pennsylvania state park. Almost 500 people experienced camping in a state park for the first time last year.
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.
More information about Pennsylvania state parks is found online at www.visitPAParks.com.