DCNR strives to support the planting of trees along streams.
DCNR strives to support the planting of trees along streams.
Trees line the shore of a small lake with clouds and trees reflected in the water. Text: resource
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
November 25, 2020
Two people kneel in a field with trees while planting and securing a tree sapling.
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Making Progress on Streamside Forests
Over the past few years, DCNR has put a renewed focus on streamside forests, or the implementation of riparian forest buffers as a best management practice for water quality.
But what is a riparian forest buffer, and why are we suddenly so focused on replanting our streamside lands?
The term “riparian” comes from the Latin words “ripa” and “riparius,” meaning “bank,” as in riverbanks.
According to Merriam-Webster, the current definition for riparian is “relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater” -- so a riparian forest is simply a forest along river or other waterbody. Read more...
An aerial view of a city with a creek flowing past buildings.
Investment to Help Restore Codorus Creek in York County
DCNR announced grant funding to provide a kayak launch and fishing platforms and help restore a portion of Codorus Creek in the City of York.
An investment of $400,000 with the Redevelopment Authority of the County of York also will support stream restoration, stream-bank stabilization, construction of nearly 2,000 feet of trail connecting to the Heritage Rail Trail and a parking area, and installation of storm-water management measures.
“The goal of the Rivers Conservation grants is to improve watershed health, and this project includes several practices -- stream restoration and streamside forest buffers -- that will do just that,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are happy to provide assistance in York County for efforts to improve water quality and increase opportunities for water recreation on Codorus Creek.”
This project is part of Phase 1 of the 1.4-mile Codorus Greenway from Grantley Road to North George St., in the City of York. Read more
Two people stand next to each other and observe a tree branch while wearing face masks outdoors.
DCNR Requires Out-Of-State Visitors to Have Negative COVID-19 Test or Quarantine Before Visiting Parks
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced changes to operating procedures for state park and forest facilities that will require out-of-state visitors to comply with orders intended to prevent the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
“Since the beginning of efforts to address the pandemic, we have kept our state park and forest lands open to all so that people can safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health, and that will continue to be the case,” Dunn said. “We are making some changes to our overnight stays for out-of-state-visitors and our programming to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.”
For the safety of visitors and staff, DCNR will be requiring guests to cancel and refunds will be issued if they are unable to honor COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
All outdoor environmental education and recreation programs will be limited to 20 people, to include staff and volunteer leaders. Masks must be work by all participants, and services will be denied if visitors cannot comply. Read more
Two people sit and ride two all terrain vehicles on a gravel road in a forest.
DCNR Finalizes ATV Trail Policy
DCNR has outlined final changes to its internal policy on ATV trails on state forest lands to respond to increasing demands for riding opportunities, local and county government interest in expanding recreational tourism, and legislative action.
“This policy provides guidance to DCNR when acquiring, developing, and managing lands for ATV use,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The major change will allow the careful consideration of strategic new riding opportunities on state forest lands to connect regional trail systems.”
Where there was a moratorium on new trail development in the previous policy, the revisions now authorize DCNR to explore the potential for new ATV trails and connectors on state forest lands. Read more
A woman wears a packback while standing in front of a waterfall and pool.
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Tina Englert is a member of the Friends of Nolde Forest and was honored as the DCNR 2019 Volunteer of the Year.
Tina grew up in Berks County and now lives close to Nolde Forest, where she enjoys hiking, trail running, and taking in nature.
“Nature photography is my special love,” Tina says, “so taking pictures of plants, insects, and whatever else I can catch with my lens is how I spend most of my time outside!”
She and her husband wanted to give back to the park that they loved to visit.
Her first experience volunteering was with the trail crew; and working on trails is still her favorite activity.
“We have evolved into a small, tight-knit crew that works well together, and we accomplish so much during our work sessions,” says Tina.
In addition to trail work, she assists with maintenance tasks like painting kiosks and signposts, and invasive plant removal.
Tina also serves as treasurer and co-chair of the garden committee for the Friends group.
She also assists her husband with stream testing at two sites in the park, which includes photographing macroinvertebrates that they find in the stream.
“I am very interested in plants and have several ongoing projects that involve photographing different species, documenting when/where they were observed, etc.,” Tina says. “I have some plans with the education specialists to really delve into those plant projects more formally in 2021.”
Tina says she has fun volunteering and encourages others to give back not only because of the wonderful people you will meet, but for the rewarding experience as well.
Almost every time she is out volunteering, Tina says someone will stop and say, “thank you,” and ask about her work.
“Volunteering is a place where teamwork truly exists,” she says. “We share the same love of the park, and the desire to keep it safe and beautiful -- and we can all rely on each other to help out and achieve those goals.”  
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

Also in the News

Grant Workshop and Outdoor Recreation Plan Webinar Recordings Available
This past fall, DCNR hosted several webinars about DCNR’s recreation and conservation grants, and Pennsylvania’s new outdoor recreation plan -- Recreation for All.
If you missed those webinars, or are in need a refresher, you’re in luck!
Recordings of all the webinar presentations and breakout sessions are now available on DCNR’s YouTube page:
  • Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan Webinars -- Each webinar focuses on one of the Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan’s five priority areas and cover challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvania communities, research findings, and best practices. Special guests already helping to implement the plan also share their stories.
  • Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grant Webinars -- Need funding for your park, trail, or conservation project? These videos provide tips on the grant programs, including what kinds of projects can be funded, how applications are scored, and strategies to make your application more competitive.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Reports 92 Percent Reduction of Cigarette Litter in Participating State Parks
Armed with a $10,000 Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful collaborated with DCNR in 2019 to reduce the number of cigarette butts carelessly left behind in four state parks:
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Nockamixon
  • Ridley Creek
  • Tyler
Over the course of a year, the parks had a combined cigarette litter reduction rate of 92 percent.
“With our smoke-free beach program now in place at most of our state park waterfront operations, we are seeing a more than 95 percent reduction in cigarette litter in these specific areas,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “However, this type of cleanup still diverts park personnel from much more meaningful tasks they could be addressing. We welcome Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s continuing support in combatting this problem.”
Cigarettes collected at the state parks will be shipped to Terracycle, where the various materials that make up a cigarette are separated and processed. The filters will be melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled industrial products, such as plastic pallets.
A wide, dirt track curves and twists in a driving course, with trees and small buildings.
Grant Spotlight: Improving Safety at Breezewood Proving Grounds
DCNR programs support many outdoor recreation opportunities, including motorized recreation.
The Breezewood Proving Grounds, a motorcycle and ATV motocross park in Monroe Township, Bedford County, recently completed track maintenance and safety improvements thanks in part to a DCNR grant.
Breezewood received $69,400 to improve track conditions by tilling sand and mulch into the clay base soil. They also installed safety fencing and ADA access. The facility provided $17,869 of matching dollars, well above the 20 percent requirement.
“Our grant from DCNR has made tremendous improvements to our facility, making it safer and more enjoyable for riders,” said Dan Harris, president of Breezewood Proving Grounds, Inc.
Funding came from the Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program (PDF), which is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
This program funds the development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized use. Thirty percent of this money is designated specifically for motorized recreation.
A river flows past rocky shores filled with trees.
Public Invited to Participate in Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Recreation Capacity Study and Town Hall
The Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Management Council invites the public to offer comments and to participate in a town hall as part of a recreation capacity study of the Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic stretch of the Delaware River.
The council will host a virtual town hall meeting on Monday, November 30 to provide additional input into the river use study starting at 7:00 P.M. Advance registration is requested.
The council also would like to hear from business owners and leaders of townships, county, state, and federal agencies who work along the Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic River from south of the Delaware Water Gap to north of Trenton.
Landowners, local residents, anglers, floaters, paddlers, and boaters, and members of environmental nonprofits are encouraged to participate by completing a questionnaire and considering a more in-depth one-on-one interview.
Online Shop Talk Program Explores Benefits of Green Infrastructure in Parks
The Pennsylvania Park Maintenance Institute will host an online “Benefits of Incorporating Green Infrastructure Into Parks And Recreation Facilities” Shop Talk program on Thursday, December 3 from 12:30 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. Registration is required.
Lori Yeich, Regional Supervisor for DCNR, will share her insights and experience overseeing implementation of green infrastructure projects. Participants will:
  • Learn about important tips to writing successful grant proposals
  • Become more familiar with important state and federal clean water requirements
  • Have an opportunity to ask questions and learn from people involved with successful case studies
This session is designed to bring together municipal officials and staff, park administration and staff, watershed organizations, water authorities, and other interested stakeholders, to explore how incorporating green infrastructure into parks, trails, and other public amenities creates experiences, reduces flooding, improves water quality, and sediment pollution.
People stand in a hilly field while planting trees.
Landscape Contractors Asked to Complete Workforce Needs Survey
The Correctional Conservation Collaborative program -- a workforce development program led by DCNR at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions -- works to train incarcerated individuals on conservation and tree care practices.
These trainings equip inmates who are nearing release with employable skills and thus help create a workforce pipeline for the forestry and tree care industries.
DCNR is seeking input from landscape contractors using a short survey on workforce needs and willingness to connect with graduates of this program, upon their release.
If you have a business that does lawn care, plants or cares for trees, installs green infrastructure, manages invasive plants, or supports these activities in any way, consider filling out this survey and helping guide the future of this program.
Tall trees in a forest with ferns covering the ground.
New Video Series Highlights Forest Conservation and Stewardship
The Pennsylvania Forestry Association, in cooperation with the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, is launching a “Discovering PA’s Forest Heritage” series.
The first video introduces the series and provides an overview of what you can see and learn about the rich legacy of forest conservation and stewardship at the Forest Heritage Discovery Center at Caledonia State Park near Fayetteville.
Walk through the Discovery Center on a virtual tour of the displays showcasing the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), wildfire fighting gear and equipment, forest conservation heroes, and Smokey Bear. Future videos in the series will dig deeper into these and other forest conservation features of the center.
The Forest Heritage Discovery Center is normally open for visitation in the summer months. For days and hours of operation, visit the PA Forestry Association Website or Facebook page.
Nominate a Student to the Wildlife Leadership Academy
The Wildlife Leadership Academy is currently seeking referrals of motivated students ages 14 to 17 to become Certified Conservation Ambassadors.
Nominated students should have an interest in wildlife and/or fisheries conservation.
Applicants may be nominated by an adult who knows them well; but is not a relative.
Accepted nominees will become certified through a five-day residential summer field school which focuses on a particular wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, bass, brook trout, turkey, and bear.
As Conservation Ambassadors, students can receive a letter of a recommendation for college applications; certification of community service work, and a certificate designating them as Conservation Ambassadors.
Students are also eligible to apply for three college credits through Cedar Crest College, return to the Academy tuition-free the following year, compete for college scholarships, and join an Academy Alumni Network of wildlife, fisheries, and conservation professionals.
For more information, contact Youth/Alumni Outreach Manager, Katie Cassidy at (570)939-5109.
A string of illuminated multi colored christmas lights lays on the floor in a tangled ball
The holiday season brings an increase in energy use and household waste. Each year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste in the U.S. increases by more than 25 percent.
It can be easier than you think to help cut down on that impact and go green this holiday season:
  • Go homemade -- Decorations, table center pieces, and gifts can all be made from reused or recycled materials. Use evergreen trimmings to make wreaths and collect pinecones and other materials to use in a fun craft. Popcorn, citrus, and other dried fruits can create colorful garlands that birds love as well.

  • Switch to LED -- LED Christmas lights use 90 percent less electricity than regular incandescent Christmas lights. They are safer, sturdier, and more long-lasting. Since they use less energy, more lights can be stung up without overloading an electrical outlet.

  • Ditch the disposables -- While washing dishes may be the last thing anyone wants to do after a big holiday meal, disposable plates and cutlery are a huge source of waste during the holidays. Use newspaper or fabric scraps to wrap gifts; and be sure to save the wrapping paper, bags, and boxes you get to re-use next year.

  • Pick the right tree -- There are many options when picking a natural tree. Support a local tree farm which can help stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife. Buy a live root ball tree native to your area to enjoy indoors for the holidays and plant it in your yard in the spring. 
Three ducks fly over water. Text: Upcoming Events
There are lots of opportunities to enjoy nature, look for wildlife, and learn something new at Pennsylvania state parks!
Programs will be held under the following conditions:
  • All outdoor environmental education and recreation programs will be limited to 20 people, to include staff and volunteer leaders. Check for registration requirements.
  • Social distancing is required during programs.
  • Masks must be work by all participants, and services will be denied if visitors cannot comply.
  • Participants must bring their own hand sanitizer.
Check the DCNR calendar of events for additional events in state parks and forests.  

Happy Thanksgiving from DCNR!

Multi-colored autumn trees seen from directly above. Text: We're thankful for our partners, volunteers, and staff who rose to the challenge of keeping our natural spaces open, safe, and enjoyable for all this year.
This has been a challenging year for us all, but we’re thankful that we all can agree that we have a deeper appreciation of our natural spaces. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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