Lewisberry, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary John Norbeck today visited Gifford Pinchot State Park to call attention to the park’s infrastructure needs and how the use of recovery funds could address vital infrastructure needs across the state.
“Our wonderful network of state parks and forests are facing operating challenges because of critical infrastructure needs,” Norbeck said. “Pinchot is one of our premier parks, but it requires millions of dollars in improvements to ensure it continues to be a place that visitors can turn to as a healthy, safe respite. We must invest in our buildings, water systems, trails, dams, campgrounds, bridges, educational centers to maintain visitor comfort and safety on public lands.”
Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre full-service park consisting of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction. The park faces a number of infrastructure challenges including replacing its water distribution system, water treatment plant, sewage collection, new wells, dam repairs, ADA compliance upgrades and other green infrastructure needs.
Norbeck noted Gov. Tom Wolf’s $1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes a designating $450 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars for conservation, recreation and preservation.
DCNR has a documented need of more than $1.4 billion for infrastructure repairs and improvements. Issues such as addressing wear and tear, extreme weather and climate change impacts, and a high demand for outdoor recreation require investments, which also allow incorporation of sustainable design and energy efficiency.
Pennsylvania made its last major injection of funding for conservation an outdoor recreation in 2005 with the Growing Greener II initiative, which funded hundreds of trail projects, conserved thousands of acres of threatened and open space and helped with hundreds of water projects to reduce pollution and flooding.
Statewide, outdoor recreation is multibillion dollar industry that directly supports 150,000 jobs. For every dollar invested in state parks, $12.41 returns to the commonwealth.
DCNR manages 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forest lands, and is tasked with conserving and sustaining Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment. More than 42 million people visited state parks in 2021, which is the second most visitors behind 2020’s total of nearly 47 million visitors.
Visit DCNR’s website for more information about Gifford Pinchot State Park.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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