Harrisburg -- Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn celebrated the grand opening of the observation area on the Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park in Northumberland County now called “Kury Point” to honor Franklin Kury, the legislator who authored the section of Pennsylvania’s Constitution popularly known as the Environmental Rights Amendment.
May marked the 50th anniversary of the Environmental Rights Amendment, and perhaps Kury’s greatest accomplishment as a legislator.
Dunn and Kury participated in a public conversation about the continued impact of the amendment earlier this year.
"We are proud to honor Franklin Kury’s legacy and the landmark legislation that continues to ensure Pennsylvanians’ natural resources are protected and conserved,” Dunn said. “DCNR and other state resource organizations carry out this mission each day as trustees on behalf of the owners -- the current and future citizens of Pennsylvania. We are grateful to Mr. Kury for his contributions to conservation in the commonwealth.”
Kury Point was dedicated in 2016. A monument at the site shares text from Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which reads: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment.”
Site improvements recently completed at the point include an ADA-accessible walkway to the point overlook, new railings, benches, landscape beds, and an interpretive panel mounted at the entrance to the point that provides more detailed information about the Environmental Rights Amendment.
Kury, who served in both the House and Senate, grew up in rural Pennsylvania and saw first-hand the adverse effects on the Susquehanna River from poor environmental decisions.
As a candidate for the House in 1966 his platform was “For Clean Streams and Clean Politics.”
He also led early efforts to restore spawning runs by migratory fish on the lower Susquehanna to let them reach upstream habitats, and sponsored the Scenic Rivers Act that had a critical impact on improving the quality of the river and the Chesapeake Bay.
“I am humbled and honored by this dedication,” Kury said. “When I ran for the House of Representatives in 1966, I had no idea that anything I might do if elected would be recognized 50 years later. It’s a very satisfying moment. I’m delighted to be here.”
Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille, who in 2013 wrote the plurality opinion in the Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which cited the Environmental Rights Amendment in its decision, spoke at the ceremony Thursday.
That decision said the amendment: "is on par with, and enforceable to the same extent as, any other right reserved to the people in Article 1."
The 218-acre Shikellamy State Park is in Union and Northumberland counties.
Located on the southern tip of Packers Island at the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch Susquehanna River, the 54-acre main park offers access to walking and biking trails, picnic grounds, the Shikellamy Marina and boat launch, and the newly dedicated Kury Point observation area.
On the western shore, a 360-foot cliff overlooks the confluence.
For more information about Shikellamy State Park visit the DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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