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This story was updated at 12:17 p.m. on 12/10/21 to include the number of seats on the council.
The state agency tasked with managing Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and its 2.2 million acres of state forests announced that it’s looking to the public to help inform its future programs and operations.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said in a statement Thursday that it is seeking applicants for its new Next Gen Council, an advisory group that would “inform the agency’s work, advance diversity, equity and inclusion and create lasting change and necessary conditions to ensure all Pennsylvanians feel welcome on public lands.”
“DCNR is committed to expanding access to outdoor recreation and ensuring public lands are welcoming to all, which is why we are creating the Next Gen Council, with an eye for new approaches to engagement, programs and other opportunities,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
Interested applicants do not need to have any government or conservation experience to apply, according to the department. Applications to join the council will be accepted through Jan. 16, 2022.
The 20-member council will meet virtually once every three months with council members being expected to attend at least 75 percent of meetings.
“We want people who are willing to share their ideas and perspectives,” Dunn said. “Experience and conservation and government is not needed to apply, but we do want people who are willing to work together towards the goal of supporting recreation for all, especially our future generations.”
Plans for the Next Gen Council come just months after the Wolf administration detailed its intent to use a diversity, equity and inclusion-based approach in its Penn’s Parks for All initiative, a strategic plan for the future of Pennsylvania’s state parks that would rely on “extensive public input.”
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