Federal relief funds ‘critical’ to state park repair needs, DCNR says | Friday Morning Coffee
Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
In a visit to Westmoreland County’s Keystone State Park earlier this week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn continued her call for funds to address infrastructure needs across Pennsylvania’s state park system.
With more than $1.4 billion needed to fund infrastructure repairs and improvements, Dunn said that using some of the state’s federal pandemic recovery funds could help foot the bill.
” … the use of recovery funds is critical in addressing infrastructure needs of our state forests and state parks throughout Pennsylvania,” Dunn said.
In his budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year, Gov. Tom Wolf has allocated $900,000 to “state parks infrastructure projects,” according to state budget office documents, and proposed a $450 million infusion to recreation, conservation and preservation programs, such as the Growing Greener Initiative, with money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Speaking to the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month, Dunn called the proposed funds “a tremendous down payment,” noting that even if all of the funds proposed are allocated to DCNR, it will still leave a hefty portion of the tab – and the projects – on the table.
Cindy Adams Dunn (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).
In 2021, Pennsylvania’s state parks logged approximately 42.2 million visits, according to Dunn, its second-highest total ever, and a more than 11.3 percent increase compared to the average of the three years leading up to the pandemic.
Despite the increased visitation to Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks, the department reports that the last major injection of funds for conservation and outdoor recreation occurred 17 years ago as part of the Growing Greener II initiative.
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Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Cassie Miller