HARRISBURG, Pa. – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn on Thursday reminded potential state park visitors to plan ahead for the three-day holiday weekend, which could bring crowded conditions to parks throughout the commonwealth.
“DCNR is expecting a busy Fourth of July weekend and we encourage all potential visitors to plan accordingly for high traffic,” Dunn said. “We have seen crowding close parks this year as summerlike weather has settled in and we project potential closings for capacity if the weather remains nice this holiday weekend.”
Dunn encouraged would-be visitors to plan to arrive at parks early or to consider alternatives to high-use parks, which have reached capacity on recent weekends.
Pennsylvania is home to 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of forests, 6,100 local parks, and many other recreational opportunities. DCNR recommends finding alternate places to go if the first choice is at capacity.
“We fully understand the value of the outdoors experience for the Fourth of July, and we want to ensure everyone has access to our parks, forests and trails,” Dunn said. “We encourage park visitors to spread out to other less-visited state parks and consider off-times or days other than the weekend to celebrate our nation’s birthday. State forests also provide excellent avenues for hiking and other outdoors activities this weekend and throughout the season.”
To help ensure all available campsites and other rentals are available for visitors, DCNR recommends canceling reservations if plans change during the holiday weekend and throughout the year.
Recent Bureau of State Park attendance figures show people continuing to use the outdoors in record numbers. State park use January through May 2021 is up nearly 4 percent from historic increases during the pandemic.
Dunn noted visitors can help keep state parks and forest lands safe by following these other practices:
- Avoid crowded parking lots and trailheads
- Bring a bag and either carry out your trash or dispose of it properly
- Clean up after pets
- Avoid activities that put you at greater risk of injury, so you don’t require a trip to the emergency room
- Take hand sanitizer with you and use regularly
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
- If you are sick, stay home