Saturday, July 25, 2020

DCNR Makes Changes At Beltzville State Park, Carbon County To Address Overcrowding; State Park Visitation Up By Over 1 Million

On July 24, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced a number of operational changes are being made at
Beltzville State Park in Carbon County to address safety related to overcrowding that is occurring on weekends and when the weather is favorable.
"Pennsylvania state parks, including Beltzville, are intended for high-density recreation, which does present some challenges during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we are seeing significant increases in visitors looking to stay cool and enjoy the health benefits of the outdoors," Dunn. "We are taking a number of steps at Beltzville to minimize issues on really busy days so that we can continue to provide access to outdoor opportunities."

On July 21, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) wrote to DCNR expressing concerns about the actions of out-of-state visitors to Beltzville State Park and called on the agency to impose restrictions on non-Pennsylvania resident use of the park’s facilities.

DCNR is implementing the following measures to help alleviate some of the issues related to the popularity of Beltzville including:

-- Additional dumpsters for trash disposal;

-- Providing trash bags to visitors to use to properly dispose of trash;

-- Signage outlining park regulations and courteous behavior related to alcohol use, noise, swimming in designated areas, and trash disposal;

-- Bringing in staff from other state parks and central office to assist, and working with local and state law enforcement entities to increase officer presence on weekends and holidays;

-- New gates and barriers to restrict parking and access to undesignated areas;

-- Electronic signs on the Pennsylvania Turnpike informing potential visitors that the park is closed or near capacity; and

-- Making 7:00 p.m. announcements that the park closes at sunset so guests can begin the process of cleaning up and departing 

Dunn noted that visitors can take actions that will help keep state parks and forests open and safe, including:

-- Don't park in undesignated parking areas as this impacts safety, natural resources and nearby residents;

-- Carry out what you carry in or dispose of trash properly in bins and dumpsters;

-- Wear a mask in the restrooms, buildings, and outdoors if you can't keep six feet of distance from other people;

-- Swim only in designated swimming beach areas or pools at state parks;

-- Be courteous to other visitors and abide by noise and alcohol restrictions, and other regulations

-- Ride ATVs and other motorized vehicles only on designated ATV trails.

Overcrowding has been an issue at Beltzville State Park the last few years.

DCNR said a Visitor Use and Impact Study with Penn State University researchers is near completion to examine many issues related to high use at Beltzville State Park on holidays and weekends in the summer.

The land and lake at Beltzville State Park are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and managed for recreation by DCNR and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

The lease with the Corps, as well as the source of federal funds used to obtain the lands at Beltzville, require that no person be excluded from public use of the premises.

State park attendance statewide was up more than a million visitors in both May and June.

Click Here for Pennsylvania State Park rules and regulations.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.


Concerns About State Park Crowding And Out-Of-State Visitors During Pandemic

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Good Natured Blog: A Greater Appreciation For Parks & Recreation

-- DCNR Concerned About Proposed Maryland National Guard Plan To Fly Very Low-Level Training Flights Over Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter,  Tioga Counties In PA Wilds 

[Posted: July 25, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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