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DCNR Highlights How Recovery Funds Could Help with Infrastructure Needs at Bald Eagle State Forest

06/09/2022

​Coburn, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary John Norbeck today visited Bald Eagle State Forest in Centre County to highlight the need for rehabilitation of the Coburn pedestrian bridge across Penns Creek and call attention to how the use of federal recovery funds could address outdated facilities and public safety preparedness across the state.

“Most Pennsylvanians who enjoy hunting and fishing take advantage of those activities on public lands,” Norbeck said. “Maintaining critical infrastructure is essential to providing safe recreation opportunities to our visitors, and the use of recovery funds are critical in addressing infrastructure needs of our state forests and parks throughout the commonwealth.”

Norbeck noted some of the best fishing to be found anywhere in the state can be found on state forest lands, as they have some of the most pristine waters in the commonwealth that support abundant aquatic life. Hunting is permitted on virtually all of DCNR’s more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland.

“State forests and state parks are ribboned with wild trout streams, annually welcome anglers to hundreds of miles of stocked trout waters, are home to lakes with some of the premier warmwater fisheries in the Commonwealth, and provide access to fantastic boating opportunities,” said Tim Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Executive Director.  “Across Pennsylvania, we work with our partners at DCNR to maintain and improve fish habitat, educate anglers and boaters, and promote public safety on these waters.”

Bald Eagle State Forest includes 194,602 acres in six counties. It spans the high, sharp ridges of central Pennsylvania and features miles of pristine mountain streams and numerous tracts of old-growth forest.

The Coburn pedestrian bridge, also known as Fisherman’s Path, is a wildly popular access point for fly anglers on Penns Creek. Years of heavy use and the lack of repair since 1970 has left the pedestrian bridge, built around 1880, stripped down to its existing condition of unattached planks resting on rotting wooden railroad ties.  The costs to repair are estimated at $548,445.

Other needs in the Bald Eagle State Forest include a new building for the wood shop and snow grooming equipment, removal of the Stony Run Dam, and road and trail improvements.

Norbeck noted Gov. Tom Wolf’s $1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic includes 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.

DCNR manages 2.2 million acres of state forest lands and 121 state parks and is tasked with conserving and sustaining Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment.

Find more information about Bald Eagle State Forest on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717.877.6315

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