Schellsburg, PA -- The Wolf Administration today visited Shawnee State Park in Bedford County to tour a recently constructed bridge and call attention to the park’s infrastructure needs and how the use of pandemic recovery funds could address outdated facilities and public safety preparedness across the state.
“The recent installation of a new bridge is an example of what the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is striving to do to help maintain safe infrastructure on public lands,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Maintaining critical infrastructure is essential to providing safe recreation opportunities to our visitors, and the use recovery funds is critical in addressing infrastructure needs of our state forests and state parks throughout the state.”
Shawnee State Park is 3,983 acres of Pennsylvania’s scenic Ridge and Valley Province. Ten miles west of the historic town of Bedford, Shawnee has modern recreational facilities that blend into the natural environment. A focal point of the park is the 451-acre Shawnee Lake.
Though the $732,000 bridge project was recently completed at Shawnee, DCNR is still responsible for maintaining 963 bridges, 148 of which are rated to be in poor condition. Nearby Blue Knob State Park, which is a part of the Shawnee/Blue Knob State Park Complex, is in need of repairs for aging waterlines and has a $2 million backlog for maintenance, including replacing the park office and maintenance building.
Dunn 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. 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.
Visit DCNR’s website for more information about Shawnee State Park.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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