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PA Residents, PA Parks and Forest Needs Your Help

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

I received this call to action. Laurel Mountain Ski Area will probably suffer a fatal blow if these further budget cuts are passed into law. The $6 million capital improvement approved last year are now in peril as Linn Run/Laurel Mountain State Parks are slated to close if this additional $19 million dollar budget cut is passed:

 

Our enjoyment of the 117 State Parks and 2.1 million acres of State Forests are in trouble. The Senate’s budget plan (Senate Bill 850) reduces DCNR’s budget by about $19 million MORE than the Governor’s proposal, which could force DCNR to close between 35-50 state parks and close over 1,000 miles of State Forestry roads, as well as close Penn Nursery and reduce gypsy moth spraying. These closures would affect millions of hunters, hikers, anglers, tourists, campers and would also impact rural communities, where many of these parks are located. Read the DCNR press release at:

DCNR press release

While we understand that in these tough economic times we all need to tighten our belts, a disproportionate cut appears to be made from the DCNR budget. The Senates proposal cuts the state park budget by 14% and the state forest budget by 30.5% (17% reduction to DCNR overall). Both state parks and state forests have cut costs already to accommodate the economic downturn—reduced maintenance, limited purchasing, reduction in travel and training. The next step, should the Senate Bill pass, would be closure and reduction in programs. What appears to be missing is consideration of the economic BENEFIT state parks and forests bring to Pennsylvania. Tourism is Pennsylvania’s second leading industry, with nature tourism a significant portion of that. Twenty percent of overnight stays in state parks are from non-residents; i.e. new money into the economy. DCNR Acting Secretary John Quigley was quoted as stating “closing 35 state parks would turn away more than 3 million visitors and wipe out at least $57 million in visitor spending on products and services in nearby communities.” This $57 million loss to save $19 million in appropriated money is a conservative estimate utilizing a formula that is known as the Virginia model. Other models indicate the loss could be over $100 million in spending on products and services. That is a significant loss of revenue to the businesses and rural communities surrounding state parks and state forests.

 

Also overlooked in the Senate Bill are the tertiary benefits of state parks and forests—an active ranger/policing force for rural Pennsylvania; the loss of entrepreneurial opportunities for small businesses near parks and forests; the benefits of trees for carbon sequestration and clean water; recreation; jobs; advice to forest landowners; and the benefits that we, as user, derive, such as health and fitness, mental health, stress reduction, family time, and a free-to-low cost means of recreation. The $19 million cut planned by the Senate Appropriations Committee would affect other DCNR programs, as well.

 

If you feel strongly about these issues, contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee: Jake Corman, Robert Tomlinson, Mike Stack, Dom Pileggi, Robert Mellow, Joe Scarnatti, David Argall, Lisa Baker, Mike Brubaker, John Gordner, Stewart Greenleaf, John Pippy, John Rafferty, Lloyd Smucker, Pat Vance, Michael Waugh, Mary Jo White, Lisa Boscola, Larry Farnese, Barry Stout, Christine Tartaglione and John Wozniak. Contact your Senator even if he or she is not on the Appropriations committee and let him or her know that you support an equitable review off all state programs and that state parks and state forests provide many benefits for the citizens of Pennsylvania and are critical for the economic well being of the state, thereby deserving of adequate funding. Contact your state representative, as well, as Senate Bill 850 must go to the house for consideration. Contact information for your elected official may be found at

Contact PA Legislators

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

post #2 of 7

Hi Rob!  California feels your pain and is contemplating closing most of the State Parks system for this year.  Other than some popular beach and boating areas and places with high visitation supported by user fees, it could come to pass.  It was sure looking hopeful for Laurel Mountain last year.  Its pretty amazing how far the recession has gone.  Politicians are looking to cut just about anything that isn't considered vital, but these parks are our legacy to our children.   I wish you good luck. 

post #3 of 7

Wasn't a big part of "the new deal" econimic relief package in the 30s building the National Parks system?  Seems to me that cutting back the parks takes jobs from folks in rurral areas that work at those parks, takes jobs from the hotels,  resturaunts, and gas stationns/convenience stores surrounding the parks.  Lemme see, cutting back on the parks saves jobs of overpaid fat arsed bureaucrats that cut jobs. 

post #4 of 7

The NY state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced it is logging a substantial increase in reservations for campsite space statewide, both in number of campers and the length of stay planned. 

 

See http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/05/19/news/doc4a12074cde2ca519303938.txt

 

Could this be because the PA campsites are closed for the 2009 summer ? 

post #5 of 7

If it was just closure of the parks I would actually be for it. It would mean no more facilities but it would also mean MTBs regaining access to some areas we have been shut off for. The land and trails would still be there for those who want to use them close gates just means horses and hikers would have more trouble getting there.

 

these are my own selfish reason but in reality simple closure is not the case.

 

these parks I suspect are being closed for timber/gas rights which would suck for everyone. I will be going to the local meeting to voice my opinion.

 

the only good that will come out of this closure is regaining access to Roaring Run singletrack in the laurel highlands.

 

 

 

post #6 of 7

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post

The NY state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced it is logging a substantial increase in reservations for campsite space statewide, both in number of campers and the length of stay planned. 

 

See http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/05/19/news/doc4a12074cde2ca519303938.txt

 

Could this be because the PA campsites are closed for the 2009 summer ? 


Also has to do with folks losing their homes.  Have to move to camp sites.  End of political jabber, back to skiing?
 

post #7 of 7

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

If it was just closure of the parks I would actually be for it. It would mean no more facilities but it would also mean MTBs regaining access to some areas we have been shut off for. The land and trails would still be there for those who want to use them close gates just means horses and hikers would have more trouble getting there.

 

these are my own selfish reason but in reality simple closure is not the case.

 

these parks I suspect are being closed for timber/gas rights which would suck for everyone. I will be going to the local meeting to voice my opinion.

 

the only good that will come out of this closure is regaining access to Roaring Run singletrack in the laurel highlands.

 

 

 

 

You're not going to regain legal access via mtbike.  Yeah, you can sneak in easier than hikers and horses but you'll still be considered a trespasser.  Although I doubt there will be many patrols to catch you.

 

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