Attempts by House Republicans to dictate, without any involvement of the public, what kinds of recreational experiences should be in Pennsylvania’s State Parks in House Bill 2013 (Ellis-R-Butler) and House Bill 2188 (Christiana-R-Beaver) raises the question of what DO our State Parks actually need?
Hint: It’s not water slides, golf courses and cheesy tourist attractions that are a drain on DCNR’s reduced staff and maintenance resources.
Fortunately, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation has the answer.
The Foundation maintains a Wish List of State Park Projects on its website that anyone with a computer can access, if they care to, or even bothered to. They are listed by State Park and some by Region.
The Wish List includes: Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant trails for veterans and other citizens who are differently-abled, fishing docks and boat launches; improved trail connections; teaching pavilions; and heavy equipment for maintenance staff.
Then there is the maintenance backlog, which includes dam repairs, new sewage and water treatment facilities, upgrades of campgrounds to full hookups and more cabins as requested by the people.
How was the public involved in these Wish List requests? Through 42, local Friends of State Parks groups that volunteer to improve their local State Parks.
And how else do we know what State Parks need, through Pennsylvania’s, twice-award-winning, Outdoor Recreation Plan which had over 10,000 responses to a public survey on recreation needs; a steering committee representing 40 agencies, organizations, and commissions; three public input meetings; and online public feedback sessions.
The final Plan includes 20 recommendations and 83 action steps. It’s right here, again, if you care to look, or bother.
The Foundation points out private industry is welcome to support projects on the list. The maintenance backlog can be addressed through proper funding of DCNRs budget by the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf.
Resorts, golf courses and lodges are NOT on DCNR’s wish list or the public’s, according to the Foundation.For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.
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