In a special year-end review edition of the Resource newsletter Thursday, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said her second year as Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was “exciting, rewarding, challenging.”
“Looking back over my second year as DCNR secretary, I am apt to apply all three to 2016 as I review how we served the Commonwealth, and weigh our accomplishments in conservation, recreation, education, and so many other resource-related arenas.
“A wealth of achievements are noted in this year-end review.
“You will see many addressing six strategic initiatives that grow from and build on the core work our bureaus and staff perform every day.
“Drawn from DCNR employees across the state, work teams are addressing: Forest conservation and jobs; Outdoor recreation; Youth engagement; Green infrastructure and sustainability; Climate change; and Water.
Click Here to learn more about the progress made on these strategic initiatives.
“In a year marked by the renaming of major state forest and parklands in honor of three conservation icons [Gifford Pinchot & Mira Lloyd Dock, Franklin Kury], applications of three of our strategic initiatives―creation of a task force to maximize forest-related jobs; a new online tool to improve customer service for reservations; and an innovative new program putting young people to work in our parks and forest―emerge as among our department’s distinguished accomplishments in 2016.
“And, there are so many more:
-- Climate Footprint: A team of more than 60 staff members was formed to look at how to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure we can adapt to a changing climate. Thus far, it has identified 175 climate change vulnerabilities and is developing solutions to ensure state parks and state forests remain resilient; and that DCNR continues fulfilling its mission as the state’s leading conservation and recreation agency.
-- Kinzua Bridge State Park shined as a landmark addition to that showplace of state parks and forests that is the Pennsylvania Wilds. It was officially dedicated in mid-September when local and state officials joined me in welcoming visitors to a new visitor center and park office at Kinzua Bridge State Park, McKean County.
-- Recreation/Natural Resource Grants: The Bureau of Recreation and Conservation awarded $45 million for 261 projects across Pennsylvania, creating new recreation opportunities, conserving natural resources, and helping revitalize local communities.
-- Wildfire fighters kept busy as DCNR continued to see its highly trained wildfire fighting teams called upon to battle wildfires in other states. Almost 200 volunteers were deployed for two weeks to fight wildfires in 11 states; 25 of them as recently as late last year, answering calls from North Carolina and Georgia. And, their experience proved invaluable in battling a two-week, 8,000-acre fire last spring on the Monroe-Pike county line.
-- Best in the Nation: Pennsylvania again earned top national honors for its work to transform outdoor recreation planning and get residents to spend more time outdoors.
-- State Forest Plan: The Bureau of Forestry completed and released its 2016 State Forest Resource Management Plan.
-- Laurel Mountain Ski Area: More than $7 million in funding, including $5.75 million in capital funds, enabled slope redesign, snow making equipment upgrades, and lift replacement at Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area in Somerset County. Downhill skiers made their first downhill runs Dec. 21 with the cooperation of concessionaire Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
“In addition, we made notable accomplishments related to our core mission, which is to conserve and sustain Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generation’s enjoyment.
“That work is organized according to four goals. Learn more about the work we accomplished in 2016 related to our core mission:
“I expect 2017 will continue to show outstanding DCNR employee efforts and continued interaction with our neighbors, visitors, partners, other agencies, businesses, and industry,” wrote Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR Secretary.For more information, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Click Here to be part of DCNR’s Online Community, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.