Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Friday announced the point and observation area on the Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park in Northumberland County will be now be called “Kury Point” to honor former Sen. Franklin Kury who authored the section of Pennsylvania’s Constitution popularly known as the Environmental Rights Amendment.
Article 1, Section 27 says “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment.”
"As the author and catalyst for the passage of the Environmental Rights Amendment while serving in the House of Representatives, Franklin Kury is a monumental leader in Pennsylvania’s rich conservation history,” Dunn said at a dedication event at the park in Sunbury today. “In addition to establishing rights for citizens, the constitutional amendment made the state the trustee of its public natural resources and responsible for conserving them.
“This is the mission lived every day by the women and men who work for DCNR and the state’s other resource agencies,” Dunn added.
Kury, who served in both the House and Senate, grew up in rural Pennsylvania and saw first-hand the adverse effects on the Susquehanna River from poor environmental decisions. As a candidate for the House in 1966 his platform was “For Clean Streams and Clean Politics.”
“I am excited by this recognition of my legislative efforts to protect the environment. My efforts were successful because of the many people who worked with me, especially Basse Beck of Sunbury,” Kury said. “In the mid-60s, Beck led in the fight to protect the river and was instrumental in my election to the House in 1966 on the clean streams issue. His spirit is reflected in what I did and what is being honored.”
Kury also led early efforts to restore spawning runs by migratory fish on the lower Susquehanna to let them reach upstream habitats, and sponsored the Scenic Rivers Act that had a critical impact on improving the quality of the river and the Chesapeake Bay.
The 218-acre Shikellamy State Park is in Union and Northumberland counties. Located on the southern tip of Packers Island at the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch Susquehanna River, the 54-acre main park offers access to walking and biking trails, picnic grounds, the Shikellamy Marina and boat launch, and the newly-dedicated Kury Point observation area. On the western shore, a 360-foot cliff overlooks the confluence.
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