The Keystone Fund is a great deal for state government because it helps communities help themselves. Each dollar of Keystone Fund investment typically leverages $3.13 in direct local investments in our parks, trails, community green spaces, and libraries. Since 1993, the Keystone Fund has invested a total of over $1.25 billion in over 7,700 projects, creating real and lasting improvements that make Pennsylvania a tremendous place to live, work, and play.
The Keystone Fund has supported:
- 920+ trail projects for walking, biking, and other recreation uses
- 161,500 acres of green space protected for county and municipal parks, greenways, wildlife habitat, and other open space uses
- 2,700+ community park development projects including ballfields, playgrounds, pools, picnic areas and recreation centers
- Hundreds of state park and forest improvements including construction and rehabilitation of restrooms, parking lots, roads, bridges, visitors’ centers, water fountains, sewage treatment, and other facilities
- 880+ historic preservation projects
- 400+ library projects to build new facilities, renovate older buildings, and improve accessibility and safety
The Keystone Fund has helped Pennsylvania:
- Become a national leader in trails (and helped leverage $45 million in federal funding for trail, bicycle, and pedestrian related projects)
- Successfully administer and manage the nation’s third-largest state park system, featuring more than 120 parks on over 300,000 acres. Pennsyvlania’s state park system earned the 2009 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association
- Become the first state to adopt the LEED Sustainable Sites category
- Hold the honor of being independently certified as having a sustainably managed state forest system
- Rank 6th in the nation in receipt of federal Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars for outdoor recreation
- An attractive place for businesses to grow and people to live
The economic benefits generated by Keystone Fund investments are immense. Examples include:
- 2021 statistics by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) noted that Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation economy grew 22% from 2020-2021, with an additional 4,000+ jobs in the field added in the same time span.
- A 2017 report from the Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania generates $29.1 billion in annual consumer spending and sustains 251,000 jobs.
- A 2012 report by The Trust for Public Land found that every $1 invested in land conservation through the Keystone Fund returned $7 in natural goods and services to the Pennsylvania economy.
- A 2012 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) indicated that state parks serve as economic generators in the communities that surround them. According to the report, visitors to state parks spent $859 million on their trips, an increase in spending from a 2008 study.
- A 2009 report determined that the Great Allegheny Passage trail generates over $40 million in annual direct spending and another $7.5 million in wages for communities along the trail.
- A 2009 report by the The Trust for Public Land concluded that community parks generate $40.3 million in expenditures from out-of-town visitors and $688 million in increased value for properties around the parks.
*DCNR-administered Keystone project figures may include other funding streams that fall under the department’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program.