Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Tuesday the expansion of a program offering visitors free sunscreen at state park beaches and swimming pools throughout Pennsylvania, ahead of National Sunscreen Day on May 27. In Berks County, sunscreen will be available at French Creek and Nolde Forest.
”As the weather warms, it is critical people take the necessary steps to protect themselves from potentially harmful ultraviolet rays when spending extended time outdoors,” Dunn said. ”We are again extremely grateful that the state Department of Health and Impact Melanoma continue to support and help expand this important program at our state parks. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to make sunscreen a part of their outdoors routine to ensure a fun and safe summer.”
Experts say daily application of a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher can aid in prevention of skin cancer. Health officials report one in 40 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime. More than 8,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each day.
Pole-mounted, battery-operated dispensers, supplying 30+ SPF BrightGuard sunscreen applications, will be positioned at 46 state parks including: Bald Eagle, Beltzville, Black Moshannon, Blue Knob, Caledonia, Canoe Creek, Chapman, Clear Creek, Codorus, Cowans Gap, Frances Slocum, French Creek, Greenwood Furnace, Gifford Pinchot, Hills Creek
Keystone, Lackawanna, Laurel Hill, Little Buffalo, Marsh Creek, Memorial lake, Moraine, Mt. Pisgah, Neshaminy, Nockamixon, Nolde Forest, Ohiopyle, Parker Dam, Pine Grove Furnace, Poe Valley, Presque Isle, Prince Gallitzin, Promised Land, Racoon Creek, Ralph Stover, RB Winter, Ricketts Glen, Ridley Creek, Shawnee, Shikellamy. Sizerville, Tobyhanna, Tuscarora, Tyler, Worlds End and Yellow Creek.
DCNR’s sunscreen program began in 2017 when its Bureau of State Parks began supplying free sunscreen at Codorus and Pine Grove Furnace state parks. With the expansion to 13 new state parks this year, the program now has the potential to reach an estimated 2.6 million visitors this season.
A cancer prevention fund from the Department of Health (DOH) covers the costs of the sunscreen. DCNR continues to pursue opportunities to partner with local health organizations and healthcare system providers to cover future costs and to further expand the program.
“This sunscreen program has been invaluable helping park visitors prevent harmful exposure to the sun each year,” State Parks Director John Hallas said. “We expect to see millions of visitors this summer season and encourage everyone to take advantage of the free sunscreen while enjoying our beautiful state parks.”
In his first budget address, Governor Josh Shapiro noted Pennsylvania’s state park system and the need for investment to provide people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with their friends and families. DCNR provides sunscreen to help Pennsylvanians enjoy nature safely.
State parks are great summer destinations for swimming, boating, camping, and other outdoor recreation opportunities. Pets are welcome at state parks in designated areas, including: Day-use areas, designated sites in campgrounds, designated cabins, camping cottages, and yurts, all areas not otherwise closed to pets.