Pennsylvania State Parks Offers Special Deal for First-Time Campers

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) 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.

“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 in a news release.

“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
  • Sinnemahoning, Cameron and Potter counties

The 1,445-acre Lackawanna State Park is in northeastern Pennsylvania, ten miles north of Scranton. The centerpiece of the park, the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake, is surrounded by picnic areas and multi-use trails winding through forest. Boating, camping, fishing, biking and swimming are popular recreation activities. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.


Pennsylvania State Parks

Surrounded by Elk State Forest, Sinnemahoning is on the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek and has picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and deep valleys. There is an abundance of wildlife, including nesting bald eagles, elk, and many birds and butterflies. (Source:

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.


Campground Reservations: (888) PA-PARKS

Gander Mountain

Gander Mountain, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a retail network of stores for hunting, fishing, camping, marine, and other outdoor recreation products and services. Gander Mountain offers a wide array of sportswear for men, women, and children, camouflage and field wear, kayaks, and canoes.

Gander Mountain began as a catalog-based retailer in Wilmot, Wisconsin in 1960. Wilmot is located near Gander Mountain, the highest point in Lake County, Illinois a short distance across the state line.

In December 2007, Gander Mountain purchased boating and watersports catalog company Overton’s, based in Greenville, North Carolina.


Worth Pondering…
And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.
—Dave Barry

Leave a Reply