PA Gov. Wolf announces 3 new state parks, locations unknown

Governor Tom Wolf announced on Twitter on Tuesday three new additions to Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks.

The announcement comes shortly after the passage of the state budget, which included $56 million for new parks. Although the locations have not been chosen, these will be the first new parks since 2005.

“After securing the funding, (the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) is now working to finalize land acquisitions that will increase public access to healthy, nearby outdoor recreation, a need that is become very evident during the pandemic. said Christina Novak, director of communications at DCNR, in an email.

The funding will also be used to create the state’s first park for ATV and motorized vehicle use.

More than half of Pennsylvania is forested, totaling 16,621,968 acres, according to a 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture report. However, only 26% is owned by state or local governments.

Prior to the approval of the state budget, the DCNR Advisory Board wrote a letter requesting a $29 million increase in the general fund to help support and maintain state parks and forests. The council said $1.4 billion is needed to improve infrastructure in state parks and forests, including 148 bridges that need repairs.

“During the pandemic, we have seen citizens of Pennsylvania confirm the essential nature of our parks and forests, as these resources provide the space needed to maintain physical and mental health,” the letter reads.

The 2022–23 state budget allocated $151 million to the DCNR, with an additional $56 million for new parks.

Ways to help your state parks

The DCNR lists volunteer events at state parks, but if your local park is not listed, prospective volunteers can always contact park management.

The closest parks to Center Country are Whipple Dam State Park, Penn-Roosevelt State Park, Black Moshannon State Park, and Bald Eagle State Park. Volunteers can help with maintenance, clearing trails, preventing fires and assisting park visitors.

You can also apply to be a volunteer for the DNCR and work in local parks or forests. DCNR volunteers must apply online and register their hours.

There are also groups of friends through the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation. These volunteers create charters to help raise funds and carry out projects to preserve and improve state parks.

Both Black Moshannon and Rothrock have active chapters, posting work the park needs and updates on completed projects, with options to donate funds.

Information on what each chapter is working on and how to join is available on the PPFF website.

This story was originally published July 14, 2022 3:26 p.m.

Keely Doll is an education reporter and service reporter for the Center Daily Times. She previously worked for the Columbia Missourian and The Independent UK.

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