The best of Pennsylvania

From Valley Forge to the rolling fields of Gettysburg; from Pennsylvania’s portion of the Appalachian Trail and the Delaware Water Gap to Pennsylvania’s awe-inspiring state parks like Ohiopyle and Ricketts Glen. These are our greatest places—for PA and the nation—and where families hike, camp, fish and teach their kids about our state’s history.

Constant threats

Unfortunately, our state’s parks face a barrage of threats from encroaching overdevelopment, ongoing pollution, fracking and Marcellus Shale drilling, and coal mining. These activities would degrade these great places, threaten the wildlife that make the parks their home, and diminish the natural heritage that we’ll leave for our children and future generations.

Congress is moving in the wrong direction

To make matters worse, Congress is on the verge of decimating the nation’s most successful program that protects our parks and other open spaces from development and drilling—the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

For the past five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s mission has been to protect America’s greatest—and often most threatened—places. For Pennsylvania, that means places like Valley Forge, Gettysburg and our portion of the Appalachian Trail.

But if our elected officials don’t act soon, this critical program will end up on Congress’s cutting room floor, forever hindering America’s great legacy of conservation and protection for our best places.

Together, we can protect Pennsylvania’s parks

Saving the Land and Water Conservation Fund will be a tough challenge, but we’re up to the task. We are talking to Pennsylvanians about what’s at stake, testifying in Washington, D.C., educating lawmakers, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need to protect our parks. Please take action for our parks and email your member of Congress.

Preservation Updates

Report | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Grand Canyon at Risk

Uranium mining—which often requires vast open pits, spreads radioactive dust through the air, and leaks radioactivity and toxic chemicals into the environment—is among the riskiest industrial activities in the world. Every uranium mine ever operated in the United States has required some degree of toxic waste cleanup, and the worst have sickened dozens of people, contaminated miles of rivers and streams, and required the cleanup of hundreds of acres of land.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment Applauds Executive Order to Protect State Forests

PennEnvironment applauds Governor Ed Rendell for signing an Executive Order today to ban any further leases for Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s state forests. While the drilling industry appears to be using its access and influence to run rampant in Harrisburg—most recently convincing the state Senate to hold up a natural gas severance tax—it is reassuring to see Gov. Rendell take such strong steps to protect this valuable resource.
 
Because all Pennsylvanians are the owners and stewards of our state forests, we have an obligation to protect them from encroaching gas drilling and all of the negative environmental impacts that come with it.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Under Threat from Underfunding

A new report released today by PennEnvironment, The Best of America Under Threat from Underfunding, showed that visitorship to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is on the rise. But even as the Water Gap draws more and more visitors, it faces budget cuts in the coming year—leaving it with fewer resources for maintenance, upkeep and stewardship.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

The Best of America Under Threat from Underfunding

America’s national parks are the nation’s most treasured places—where visitors can experience the best of America’s great outdoors, wildlife, history and culture. National parks are becoming increasingly popular. In 2009, overall visitorship was up by 4%, the highest level in nearly a decade.23 Two-thirds of national parks, including parks in nearly every state, saw an increase in visitors in 2009. However, even as more people are visiting parks, operating budgets for the majority of national parks are at risk of being cut.

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Headline

Editorial: Staying Green

With natural-gas drilling posing one of the biggest challenges to Pennsylvania's environment since the days of coal strip mining, this is no time for Harrisburg officials to stand by and let funding dry up for the commonwealth's premier conservation effort.

That's just what could happen this year unless new money is provided for the state's $1.3 billion Growing Greener program - launched by a Republican governor, Tom Ridge, and enthusiastically expanded by a Democratic successor, Gov. Rendell.

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