What to know about what is open and what is closed on DCNR lands.
What to know about what is open and what is closed on DCNR lands.
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
May 13, 2020
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Picnic table on a wodden deck overlooks a lake

Reopening Pennsylvania State Park and Forest Facilities
As Pennsylvania slowly begins to reopen certain areas of the state, you might be wondering what that means for Pennsylvania state parks and forests.
Just like the phased reopening of the counties in the state, DCNR is implementing a phased reopening of state park and forest facilities to ensure that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation.
DCNR recognizes the importance parks and forests have in maintaining an individual’s physical and mental health; and, as the weather turns warmer, even greater numbers of people will be looking for opportunities to be outdoors.
The reopening of state park and forest facilities involves bringing staff back on to work in parks and forests, making sure staff have the proper personal protective equipment, making sure we have the cleaning supplies to keep our facilities safe, and the normal procedures for getting facilities that have been closed over the winter set up to be used by the public.
DCNR is following Governor Wolf’s plan and process for reopening Pennsylvania. The plan uses the colors of red, yellow, and green to outline the restrictions in place for that county. The red phase has the most restrictions, which are let up as counties move to yellow and green. Read more...
People kayak in a river
National Safe Boating Practices Week is May 16-22
With the summer boating season just around the corner, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and DCNR are joining with the National Safe Boating Council and other boating safety advocates across the country to recognize May 16-22, 2020, as National Safe Boating Week. 
“Boating in a state park, or on any of Pennsylvania’s beautiful rivers, lakes and streams can be the great escape many of us are looking for right now,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We can enjoy the physical and mental benefits that come with spending time on the water, but we should continue to take steps to protect ourselves and those around us.
Regardless of your boating interests, Pennsylvania state parks and forests have a waterway for you.
Boaters are reminded to abide by the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order and follow safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, which include social distancing and limiting non-essential travel. Read more...
Two people sit holding signs at a meeting
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
The CASA Youth Group is a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in Pennsylvania.
The group centers on issues of social justice, and their own ability to change their own lives.
The group is composed by members from York, Lancaster, Dauphin, Adams, and Chester counties.
agermannSince it was established in 2019, CASA youth leaders have passed a resolution on a local level to transition the city of York to 100 percent renewable energy.
They put together the legislation, met with York city council members, and advocated in front of City Council members who passed the resolution unanimously.
The success of CASA Youth Group relies fully in its members.
One of those members is Nitzi Gaitán. Nitzi is a first-year graduate student at York College where she is studying environmental justice. She has been the lead to pass the resolution to transition York city into 100 percent renewable energy.
Nitzi is one of the leaders of the CASA PA Youth Comité and has been a member of CASA since 2018.
Her parents have been in CASA since the very beginning and helped get Nitzi involved.
“I think diverse communities can make a huge impact on our environmental crisis,” Nitzi says. “Once one city gets involved many other cities will be motivated to join the movement and the awareness of climate change gets spread quickly throughout the community. It all just depends on people motivating others and educating them on why caring for our ecosystem is truly important.”
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

Allegheny National Forest to Begin Reopening
The Allegheny National Forest has begun a phased reopening of campgrounds and recreation sites. This phased approach will prioritize the health and safety of employees, visitors, and volunteers; and is in alignment with current federal, state, and local guidance for social distancing.
“While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved recreation areas, please continue to follow local, state, and federal guidelines on staying safe while we continue to work on opening trails and roads. This may take some time as staffing remains staggered to encourage safe distancing,” said Allegheny National Forest Supervisor Jamie Davidson.
Effective immediately, dispersed overnight camping and limited developed camping have been reopened for recreation. Please see the closure order (PDF) for a complete list of site closures.
The reopening plan also allows for certain campgrounds, cabins, boat launches, and day use areas to open. A complete list of facility openings is available at the Allegheny National Forest website.
The Presque Isle lighthouse on the end of a concrete pier
Presque Isle State Park Requests Memorabilia to Help Celebrate 100th Anniversary
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Presque Isle becoming a Pennsylvania state park, and park officials are looking for your memories and photos to help celebrate.
For those who have enjoyed time at Presque Isle, now is a great time to look through old photos and memorabilia. You may have something of historical significance or just a great way to reminisce about the past.
The park is looking for any historical photos of recreation, buildings, Old Lake Road, engineering structures, and wildlife.
They are also looking for any fun and unique stories that you can tell us about the park, these can be from the 1920s up to today that focus on the peninsula. Old paintings, journals, environmental projects, and anything related to the peninsula is welcome.
If you have questions, or something you’d like to share, send it for consideration to the Presque Isle environmental education specialist. Please include as much information as you can, such as dates, locations, and stories. 
At Home and Online Resources for Educators and Parents
Parents, educators, and students across the country are being given alternate resources, some online, to study outside of the classroom. Connecting and learning about nature is a great way to keep kids of all ages engaged and occupied.
Here are a few resources to explore your local environment while staying close to home:
Project learning Tree offers 12 nature walk activities for various age groups. A simple way to take learning outside, and have children interact with their environment through nature.
Project WILD and Growing Up WILD “Learning at Home” resources for parents features online wildlife-based conservation and environmental lessons that foster responsible actions toward wildlife.
The Penn Museum is offering unique ideas for kids and their families. From creating creatures at home to making your own mosaic to figuring out where your lunch came from.
The Carnegie Science Center offers doing fun science activities to engage with your kids with ingredients you have at home.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently launched Wildlife on WiFi, a hub of conservation and wildlife-themed educational lessons, activities, videos, and live animal webcams accompanying themes of:
  • Wildlife Science
  • Discover Backyard Wildlife
  • Celebrate Pennsylvania Birds
NOAA Live! Webinars for Kids features a different NOAA expert/topic and a question and answer session. Events are targeted to grades 2-8. Each session runs 45 - 60 minutes and is close-captioned in English and Spanish. 
While many people are currently spending more time at home during the coronavirus outbreak, households may see an increase in their monthly energy usage. Here are some tips to keep energy costs low in your household:
  • Check the water heater: Make sure it is set to 120 degrees. A heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste up to $60 annually.

  • Pick the right device: When streaming content, choose the smallest device that makes sense for the number of people watching. Avoid streaming on game consoles, which use 10 times more power than streaming through a tablet or laptop.

  • Take care of your fridge: Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder. Dust off the top of your refrigerator and coils to keep it running efficiently and cool.

  • Don’t touch that thermostat: Set the air conditioning thermostat on the highest comfortable setting (78-80 degrees, and no higher than 84). Raising the thermostat just two degrees can reduce cooling costs by as much as 5 percent!

Featured Video

Pennsylvania’s native, ephemeral wildflowers appear for a short time during spring, and provide food for helpful pollinators when other sources are scarce.
Learn about some of the wildflowers you may encounter on a walk in your neighborhood or backyard.
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