Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pennsylvanians Urged To Help Preserve The Legacy Of PA's State Parks & Forests

On January 28, the Parks and Forests Foundation debuted “The Legacy of Pennsylvania Parks and Forests: The Future is in Our Hands” report at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
In attendance were dozens of organizations and individuals committed to preserving the legacy of these important recreational, historic, and natural resources.
Their remarks echo what PPFF staff have been hearing over the years; that while people still enjoy these resources, they are noticing a decline in upkeep due to dwindling budgets and staff being asked to ‘do more with less’.
Tina Molski, Director of Operations for REI’s east coast distribution center in Bedford and Vice Chair of the PPFF board, said, “As someone who works in the recreation industry, I know the value of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. These resources provide unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. And yet, the lack of a reliable, dedicated source of funding to maintain and improve existing recreational infrastructure in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests is harming its potential.” Click Here for full remarks.
Marci Mowery, President of PPFF, added to those sentiments. “Our state parks and forests are the vacation destination for over 40 million visitors a year. Our parks and forests are where our kids learn to camp, hike, and make s’mores. They are the places where family memories are made, proposals of ever-lasting love are issued, and where friendships are formed. Yet, despite the many documented benefits of our parks and forests, they suffer from decades of ‘making do’. Years of underfunding has reduced staffing levels in state parks to the same levels they were in the 1970s when there were fewer parks and only 20 million visitors. State forest staffing levels are also down, while pressures on the forests, from invasive pests and flooding to increased visitation, are on the rise.”  Click Here for a video of her remarks. Click Here for full written remarks.
Katie Hess, Director of the South Mountain Partnership, said, “There are 500 structures within our state parks currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and more than 5,000 culturally or historically significant sites within state forests. And these lists only contain places that we know about. These places and structures tell us important stories about our past – and they are literally our heritage. But the legacy of PA’s state parks and forests is under threat, and this is a concern to me and those I work with through the South Mountain Partnership because these public lands are economic engines for many towns and municipalities. Click Here for full remarks.
Andre Weltman, Chair of the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, said “Visitors to our state parks and forests might not realize the extent of the work required by volunteers and by employees to keep facilities and trails safe, efficient and attractive. At my park, Pine Grove Furnace, we have excellent staff but simply not enough of them. Last year’s rainy summer created even more work for the limited number of employees. Between 1995 and 2016, DCNR spent roughly $400 million to improve state park infrastructure, yet like owning a home, the to-do list never seems to get shorter. Acts of nature such as heavy precipitation and subsequent flooding, changes in safety standards, increased visitor demands, and general wear-and-tear all add to the work needed in our parks and forests.”  Click Here for full remarks.
Richard Lewis, President of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, the nation’s oldest forestry association, said, “It’s time to stop asking those professionals who manage our vital State Park and State Forest assets to ‘make do’ while they watch our campgrounds, buildings, rest stations, hiking trails, swimming beaches, boat ramps, dams, and forest roads to continue to become degraded. We hope that our elected leaders’ vision for the future of Pennsylvania includes restoring and maintaining these ‘crown jewels’ so they can be fully enjoyed by future generations of Pennsylvanians.” Click Here for full remarks.
Join The Movement
PPFF encourages all citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as out-of-state visitors to our state parks and forests, to raise their voice to support adequate funding for the maintenance and care needs of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
They can do this by reading the Legacy of Pennsylvania’s State Parks and Forests report, signing up to join the cause, writing their legislator, joining a volunteer friends group, and more, all of which they can learn more about at the PPFF website.
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.  Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.
(Photo: Marci Mowrey, President, PA Parks & Forests Foundation)
Related Stories:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner