Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks under threat

Each year, our state parks and forests give millions of visitors an opportunity to hike, camp, fish, boat or just relax. From Erie’s Presque Isle to Ridley Creek State Park outside of Philadelphia, and everywhere in between, Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks and 20 state forests are some of the crown jewels of our natural heritage.

Sadly, our state parks and forests face major threats from all sides: potential privatization, severe funding cuts and budget shortfalls, a backlog of maintenance and repair projects, and the threat of Marcellus Shale gas drilling and the clearcuts and pollution that accompany it.

We must protect our state parks and forests

Our elected officials in Harrisburg have allowed funding for state parks and forests to be slashed, and have opened up more than 700,000 acres of state forestlands to Marcellus Shale gas drilling. And now Gov. Tom Corbet is pushing to eliminate the Keystone Fund, a program dedicated to protecting our state parks.

PennEnvironment is standing up for the parks and forests that we love — and making sure that they get the protections that they need and deserve. Alongside our citizen members and activists, PennEnvironment is working to make sure that our state parks and forests are protected and properly maintained for generations to come.

Thousands of concerned citizens have joined our efforts, calling and emailing their elected officials, and making sure that our state parks and forests have a voice and a constant watchdog. Join our campaign and urge your legislators to protect our state parks and maintain the Keystone Fund.


Preservation Updates

Headline

Severance tax could be used to fund Growing Greener program

Incredibly, Pennsylvania remains the only major drilling state in the nation that has failed to implement a severance tax on gas drilling. Due to the destructive and dangerous nature of Marcellus Shale drilling, it only makes sense to direct a portion of the funds to the state's environmental and conservation programs, like Pennsylvania's Growing Greener program.

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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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