News

  • May 21, 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    State Parks Nationwide Report Record Number of Visitors During COVID

    While much of the nation was shut down last year due to COVID 19, state parks and forests provided a safe haven for tens of millions of people, the National Association of State Park Foundations said today.

    “Many state park systems reported record visitation - in some cases up more than 50 percent over the previous year,” said NASPF chair Marci Mowery, who is also president of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

    “Some state park systems closed down for a short time, but many others stayed open and saw huge increases in visitation. Minnesota for instance, saw a 50 percent increase in visitors last March over the same month in 2019. In Pennsylvania, the number of visitors over the year was 23% higher than the previous year, and it was a similar story in states nationwide.”

    In January 2021, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, speaking about the record numbers, said, “our outdoor spaces hold even greater value than we could have imagined before the challenges of last year.”

    People realized that state parks provided a safe, healthy and enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors,” said Mowery. “The more than 6,500 state parks nationwide offer thousands of miles of biking, hiking, nature, fitness and paddling trails allowing people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in a safe environment,” she added.

    “Numerous studies have shown that nature is actually good for our health and well-being and state parks are the ideal place to commune with nature, reduce stress levels and unwind,” said Gil Ziffer, President of the Florida State Parks Foundation. “And by being vigilant in practicing social distancing, our parks also provided a safe outlet for so many.”

    Being stuck indoors tends to reduce exercise levels while visiting a state park allows you to walk, jog, cycle, canoe and maybe swim – all activities that improve health and well-being.

    Another benefit is that you become more relaxed. According to researchit only takes five minutes to experience the relaxing effects of nature.  Your concentration also improves. Studies show that spending time outside can also improve creative thinking, he said. 

    The National Association for State Park Foundations provides a national voice as advocates for all state parks. There are more than 8,500 state parks and forests covering 18.6 million acres with 52,600 miles of trails. In 2019-20, state parks attracted more than 800 million visitors. On average nationwide, state parks’ expenditure is less than 1 percent of their annual state’s budget, yet they generate billions of dollars to their respective state economies and create hundreds of thousands of job.

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    For more information contact:


    Marci Mowery, Chair, NASPF 717-371-2155 or mmowery-ppff@pa.net
    Don Philpott, Vice Chair NASPF 321-277-8442 or don@floridastateparksfoundation.org


  • December 01, 2020 7:54 PM | Anonymous

    New nonprofit formed to support nation’s state parks

    The National Association of State Park Foundations has been launched to support and advocate for the army of volunteers and Friends groups that help care for the nation’s state park and forests.

    “Every state in the nation has many wonderful state parks and forests and they all rely heavily on volunteers and nonprofit Friends groups,” said National Association Chair Marci Mowery.

    “These volunteers and groups support the work of park managers and staff, raise funds for projects in the parks, help run educational and environmental programs, and much more. Without them, many parks would not be able to operate,” she said.

    The National Association, a 501(c)3 incorporated organization, will connect, build, elevate, and empower these member statewide non-profit partners of America’s state parks and advocate for them, she added.

    Full membership is open to all nonprofit groups directly supporting their state parks and affiliate membership is open to individuals, other organizations and corporate entities that want to support our mission and goals, said Mowery.

    The officers of the National Association are Marci Mowery, Chair, who is President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, Don Philpott, Vice Chair, who is President Elect of the Florida State Parks Foundation, and David Pearson, Secretary and Treasurer, who is the executive director of the North Carolina Friends of State Parks.

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    For more information contact Marci Mowery, Chair, at 717-236-7644 or Don Philpott, Vice Chair, at 321.277.8442


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