The PA Growing Greener Coalition Friday applauded the investment of $38 million in grants to support conservation and recreation projects statewide, and highlighted the importance of maintaining and expanding funding for future projects.
“The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition applauds the state’s approval of $38 million in grants that will be used to support critical conservation and recreation projects in nearly every county throughout the Commonwealth,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition. “These grants remind us of the importance of maintaining and expanding funding to protect vital natural resources that provide numerous economic and quality of life benefits.”
The grants were awarded through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, which is supported with funds from a variety of sources that include The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund and the Pennsylvania Heritage Areas Program.
The following are examples of projects that have received grant funding:
— Natural Lands Trust will receive a grant of $834,500 to acquire and preserve a 234-acre stretch along Ridgeway Road within the Schuylkill Highlands in Berks County. The preserved forestland, which provides habitat and recreational opportunities, will eventually be transferred to the PA Bureau of Forestry.
— The Nature Conservancy-Pennsylvania will receive more than $306,000 to acquire approximately 110 acres within the Tannersville Cranberry Bog in Monroe County, for habitat and wetland bog protection.
— Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society will receive $185,000 to provide recreation and park outreach and education.
— Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism was awarded a grant of $183,500 to provide technical assistance to partner organizations on the development of trails and greenways in Venango and Crawford Counties, to facilitate the construction of the Oil Creek Memorial Landing and to install signage along a segment of the Erie-to-Pittsburgh Trail.
— Allegheny Ridge Corporation will receive $200,000 to implement the Kiski Valley Outdoor Connections Plan, which include coordination of two trail acquisitions, installation of signage on regional trail systems and construction of boating accesses in Huntingdon County.
— Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will receive a grant of $110,000 to acquire approximately 48 acres along River Road in Confluence Borough to be used for forest protection and recreational opportunities.
“Investments in conservation contribute to the long-term economic success of Pennsylvania and to the health and well-being of its residents,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “These grants will allow Natural Lands Trust to preserve hundreds of acres of land—from rural Berks County to the Mt. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia—that will protect important wildlife habitat and provide recreational opportunities now and for years to come.”
Widespread Public Support
According to a recent survey from the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg, 92 percent of 608 Pennsylvanians surveyed think that state funds dedicated to preserving farmland and open space, providing parks and trails and protecting rivers and streams should continue to be used for these purposes.
In addition, the survey found that nearly 78 percent of respondents support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests and farms even if would cost the average household $10 more annually. These high levels of support are constant throughout every geographic region and every gender, ethnic, educational and economic demographic throughout the state.For more information, visit the PA Growing Greener Coalition website. The Coalition is the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth.