Wolf admin. debuts new long-term plan to improve Pa.’s state parks | Monday Morning Coffee

The plan aims to address issues such as accessibility, infrastructure improvements and repairs, and climate change

August 2, 2021 6:30 am

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaking with the press. Governor Tom Wolf visited Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County Friday, July 31, 2021 to highlight the importance of outdoor spaces to our well-being during the pandemic and announce a plan for Pennsylvania’s state parks of tomorrow (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Associate Editor Cassie Miller here, filling in for John for the next few days.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Speaking from Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn to announce a new long-term plan to make improvements to Pennsylvania’s aging state park system.

Looking around with his arms spread, Wolf waxed poetically about the diverse scenery of Pennsylvania.

“This is what makes Pennsylvania so special … this scenery,” Wolf said, taking in the view. “I think the idea is to encourage more people to come to these parks.”

Known as “Penn’s Parks for All,” the plan will serve as a blueprint for park officials at the commonwealth’s 121 state parks over the next two decades, the Wolf administration said in a statement, adding that the plan was developed with “extensive” input from the public.

The plan aims to address long-term issues such as public accessibility, infrastructure improvements and repairs, and climate change through 87 strategies that include:

  • Promoting state parks as safe and welcoming;
  • Evaluating and update visitor information and programs to include untold stories and improve inaccuracies of cultural stories;
  • Improving transportation options to state parks to broaden access;
  • Improving accessibility to all water-based recreation;
  • Ensuring state parks are adequately funded including reducing costs and improving efficiencies, demolishing buildings that are costly and have no historical significance, modernizing maintenance plans, minimizing duplication of outdoor recreational services, and increasing annual state appropriations for general operations so that fees collected in state parks can be used for maintenance;
  • And identifying the need for additional trails and trail connectivity from state parks to communities.
Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR secretary speaking with the press. (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

“We really need this plan,” Wolf told reporters.

Wolf’s comments were echoed by Dunn who noted the importance of Pennsylvania’s state parks during the pandemic, and now, as the commonwealth recovers.

“As economic drivers for nearby communities, state parks and outdoor recreation also are an important part of our recovery,” Dunn said.

Pennsylvania’s state parks saw record attendance during the pandemic as many Pennsylvanians sought refuge from lockdown in nature.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of Pennsylvania when they needed us the most,” Dunn said.

Wolf also reflected on the importance of state parks during the pandemic and the need to support outdoor spaces going forward.

“During that time these parks were heavily used by people in Pennsylvania and beyond,” he said. “The opportunity to enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities in state parks and forests was critical to our mental and physical health during the pandemic. As we get back on track, we need to ensure generations to come will have the same opportunities, and that all Pennsylvanians feel connected to their state parks.”

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Image via Instagram.

What Goes On

House Democratic Policy Committee will meet today at 1 p.m. Monday for a tour and roundtable discussion at Presque Isle State Park in Erie Pa.

No public appearances at this time.

Heavy Rotation

To kick your week into high gear, here’s Sia’s “Unstoppable”.

What We’re Reading
The Penn Capital-Star Readers book club on Goodreads is currently reading “Women and Other Monsters” by Jess Zimmerman. To join in on our next read or recommend a book, visit our Goodreads page. 

And now you’re up to date. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.