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DCNR highlights economic impact of snowmobiling, winter rec in PA Wilds

Saint Marys, PA — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined members of the Saint Marys Snowmobile Club to highlight snowmobiling and to provide safety tips for outdoor recreation during winter months.

“We at DCNR believe it is important for people to safely enjoy the outdoors year-round,” Dunn said. “Whether you’re riding on a snowmobile or going on a hike, be sure you model safe behaviors and take the necessary precautions when recreating outdoors this winter.”

Dunn emphasized the importance of snowmobiling, noting that it adds $65 million to Pennsylvania’s economy annually. There are more than 40,000 registered snowmobiles in the commonwealth, with 59 local snowmobile clubs represented by 4,000 club members.

DCNR has supported snowmobiling in Elk County in the Pennsylvania Wilds, including $600,000 in grants directed to planning and development of the West Creek Recreational Trail, which Secretary Dunn traveled Friday via snowmobile.

In total, the agency has supported outdoor recreation in Elk County through nearly $1.6 million in grant funding for multiple projects during the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The West Creek Recreational Trail extends into Cameron County.

Elk and Cameron counties are two of the 13 counties that make up the PA Wilds tourism region and conservation landscape.

The PA Wilds make up 2.1 million acres of the commonwealth’s public lands.

This winter season, DCNR has responded to a number of incidents on its lands, prompting Dunn to encourage riders to practice safety at all times. Dunn offered the following tips Friday:

  • Wear a helmet, eye protection and suitable clothing
  • Don’t use drugs or alcohol when you ride
  • Ride with others and let someone know where you are riding
  • Stay on trails designated for snowmobiles
  • Always ride at a safe and responsible speed
  • Know your abilities as a rider
  • Always obey the laws

State parks and forests offer an abundance of activities during winter months and DCNR encourages people to use engage in safe behaviors whether hiking, skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, shoveling, or any other outdoor activity.

More broadly, DCNR offered additional safety tips:

  • Dress appropriately
  • Wear a helmet when applicable
  • Only recreate in approved areas
  • Wear sunscreen on areas not covered by clothing
  • Be aware of others’ movements
  • Carry proper gear
  • Take breaks
  • Do not over work yourself during activities
  • Snow shoveling is can trigger heart attacks and while that isn’t recreation it is an outdoor winter activity

Visit DCNR’s website for more information on winter activities at state parks and forests.