Councilman Wilson discusses a bill he introduced that will give youth groups permission to camp recreationally in City of Pittsburgh parks.
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
As summer begins, I wanted to talk about a bill that I introduced recently to give youth groups permission to camp recreationally in the City of Pittsburgh’s parks.
My bill empowers the Director of the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Parks and Recreation to launch a pilot program to allow youth groups to organize overnight camping trips in our city’s parks. Camping is a unique experience that can cultivate a life-changing connection to the outdoors. By providing this experience in our own backyard, we are expanding access to quality outdoor recreation activities for all young people that live in the city of Pittsburgh. This department will provide rules and guidelines to all groups participating in this pilot program. All groups will need permission from the department director to stay in the park overnight. Otherwise, camping in our parks overnight will be prohibited.
My office and the Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with the Outdoor Inclusion Coalition to introduce this bill. This coalition is hosted by Venture Outdoors and represents a collection of organizations that are taking action to catalyze change in Pittsburgh’s outdoor recreation community. I am especially grateful to the Friends of Riverview Park group for introducing us to the work of this wonderful coalition and for advocating for the introduction of legislation that would permit recreational camping in our parks. All of these organizations are doing tremendous work in expanding access to the outdoor recreation community in our region.
At Riverview Park on the Northside, these organizations are planning to open a Gear Lending Library so that families and children who live near this great regional park but lack access to hiking and camping gear can check out the supplies they need to get outside. Access to backpacks, sleeping bags, and tents will improve physical and mental health outcomes and build a stronger and more diverse outdoor community. While we continue to make investments and improvements in Riverview Park, we are also hopeful that this Gear Lending Library will play a big role in inspiring the next generation to protect and invest in our public green spaces.
If you have any thoughts about this bill, or ideas about other ways we can expand access to the outdoors, please feel free to call us at 412-255-2135, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you.
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1