Investments in parks, trails, and rivers bring opportunity for recreation.
Investments in parks, trails, and rivers bring opportunity for recreation.
A wild turkey stands on a forest road during winter.
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
November 27, 2019
The susquehanna river is visable from a fenced viewpoint with benches. Tree covered ridges line the riverbed and blue skies and white clouds are overhead.
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
New DCNR Investments Will Help Communities Bring Recreation Close to Home
Across the commonwealth this November, communities are learning about new investments in their local parks, trails, and rivers that will bring opportunities for outdoor recreation closer to home and provide some of the key assets that attract families, businesses, and visitors.
Combined, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is providing about $57 million for 267 projects through its Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Read more...
Two hunters wearing camo and orange clothes walk through a snowy forest with rifles on their shoulders.
Additional State Forest Roads Remain Open for Opening of Deer Hunting Season
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn reminded hunters heading out in search of white-tailed deer Saturday they will find 516 miles of newly opened state forest roads available.
“Hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts visiting Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands in the weeks ahead will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts,” Dunn said. “Normally open only for administrative use, these roads will afford easier access to state forestlands for hunters, hikers and others.”
More than 3,000 miles of state forest roadways were open during the statewide archery deer season, which closed November 16. They will remain open through other hunting seasons continuing into January 2020, but forest managers may close some when weather conditions dictate. Read more...
A hunter in camo and orange clothes sits next to a tree in the snow with a gun.
As Hunters Take to Penn’s Woods; A Reminder to be Prepared
It’s that time of year again for hunters to make their list and check it twice in anticipation of the opening day of rifle deer season.
They are making sure that they have everything they need for a successful day of hunting, but does that list include items to be prepared in case of an emergency or getting lost in the woods.
Believe it or not, but this is one of the times of the year when DCNR’s search and rescue operations are most busy.
Having a medical emergency or getting lost in the woods is something that can happen to any of us at any time. There are simple steps everyone can take to make sure that if it does happen, they are properly equipped for an extended stay in the woods and can easily be found. Read more
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Ryan Davis is the Pennsylvania Forest Program Manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Ryan’s role in the Alliance’s Forest Program is to increase the quantity and quality of forest cover across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and to educate residents and officials on the many values of forest resources.
His focus in Pennsylvania is on education and outreach programs, pollinators, forest management, riparian forest buffers, and upland reforestation.
“I am immensely lucky to work for the Alliance. I get to come up with creative solutions for conservation issues…not much is more satisfying than visiting a tree planting site and watching the trees get bigger each year.”
A Wilkes-Barre native, Ryan grew up in southeastern Virginia, surrounded by swamps, streams, woods, and ponds.
“As early as I can remember, my main interests revolved around catching critters, fishing, climbing trees, and generally just exploring little pockets of wilderness on my own,” Ryan says.
This early engagement in nature helped to solidify Ryan’s conservation ethic and set him on the trail he still walks today.
Ryan first got involved with the Alliance at a riparian forest buffer forum. The Alliance was “looking for someone to help with outreach and riparian forest buffers and I was looking for a job where I could think and act outside of the box,” he says. “The rest is history!”
Ryan’s passion for his work is fueled by a real understanding of ecosystem management.
Without forest cover, especially along streams, our way of life and how we plan our communities would be drastically changed. The forested areas along streams are called forested riparian buffers.
These wooded areas house pollinators, supply clean water and air, sequester carbon, and provide us with sustainable food and fiber.
Ryan currently lives in Lancaster, an area where farm fields dominate and the need for more forested areas are very real.
“It’s only logical to increase our forest cover in these areas, where it doesn’t make much sense to host other land uses anyway,” Ryan explains. “By reforesting our streamsides, we can have clean water, great wildlife habitat and fisheries, and the many other benefits of forests, without wasting space that we need to live and grow food.”
The Alliance works to increase the number of riparian buffers with an end goal of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Ryan helps to plant thousands of trees throughout the year and works tirelessly to ensure the trees survive past the planting date and flourish into vibrant, healthy forests.
“I think what I have taken away the most from my work over the past few years has been about humans,” Ryan says. “It is easy to have a gloomy perspective on conservation these days, but I find that most people genuinely care and genuinely want to help. They just don’t know how to act, or where to begin, and that’s where we as conservation professionals come in. If we are to be successful in surmounting the conservation challenges ahead of us, we need to empower others to join us in the fight.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at to nominate someone.

Also in the News

Hunters Can Help PA Game Commission Monitor and Limit Impact of CWD
If you are hunting within a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Area, before leaving the area, successful hunters are asked to deposit high-risk parts from their deer in a high-risk parts bin to be tested for CWD.
Your deer will be tested for free and you will be notified of the test results. The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that hunters should receive test results 10-21 days after submitting their samples.
The state forest districts overlapping CWD Management Areas include:
  • Bald Eagle State Forest*
  • Buchanan State Forest*
  • Clear Creek State Forest
  • Forbes State Forest
  • Gallitzin State Forest*
  • Michaux State Forest*
  • Moshannon State Forest*
  • Rothrock State Forest*
  • Tuscarora State Forest*
  • Weiser State Forest
  • William Penn State Forest
*State forests with head collection bins
In addition, numerous state parks fall within the disease management areas. To see if where you are hunting falls within a disease management area, visit the PA Game Commission’s chronic wasting disease interactive map.
Additional information, including locations of high-risk parts bins, and cooperating processors and taxidermists within the disease management areas, is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Information about hunting in state parks and forests is available at the DCNR website.
Yellow and Blue Logo of the Pa Geological Survey
Help the Fourth Pa. Geological Survey Celebrate its 100th Anniversary
DCNR’s Bureau of Geological Survey, also known as the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the fourth Pennsylvania Geological Survey!
The first three surveys were commissioned by the state legislature for limited periods of time (beginning in 1836) to document specific aspects of geology (mostly related to mineral and energy resources) and topography.
The fourth and current survey is charged with undertaking a thorough and extended survey of the geology and topography of the commonwealth.
The public is invited to an open house at the Pennsylvania Geological Survey on Friday, December 6, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., at their Middletown office to celebrate their anniversary and learn more about what they do for the commonwealth and our natural resources.
There will be official building tours at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., and exhibits throughout the building, as well as talks on their research.
State Geologist Dr. Gale C. Blackmer, the Director of the Bureau of Geological Survey, will be speaking about the history of the survey for a lunchtime talk at 12:30 P.M.
The location of the Middletown office is 3240 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown, PA 17057. Please RSVP to Kristen Hand if you plan to attend the open house and celebration.
Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Yields Results in Four State Parks
DCNR and Keep PA Beautiful are implementing a national Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in four state parks, which has already yielded a 48 percent reduction in cigarette litter halfway through the program.
Another cigarette litter count will be taken in the spring to determine the final results of the program which will inform recommended approaches to reducing this type of litter.
The state parks participating in the program are:
  • Benjamin Rush 
  • Nockamixon
  • Ridley Creek
  • Tyler
“Giving the public a place to dispose of their waste in an appropriate container has made all the difference. They are visible, clean, and accessible. The public has also reached out to us and thanked us for providing them. We are extremely grateful to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful for making it possible,” says Corey J. Snyder, Park Manager at Tyler State Park.
This is the ninth year Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has received funding from Keep America Beautiful to run the anti-cigarette litter program.
Webinar Series Will Help Landowners Care for Their Woods
Do you have woods in your backyard and wonder what you can do to conserve them and help the environment?
PennState Extension is offering the Woods in Your Backyard webinar series for landowners with 10 acres or less to teach them about land stewardship through nine live, one-hour, online evening lectures that can be viewed on your home computer.
Topics to be covered in the webinars include:
  • Woods and healthy watersheds
  • Tree and shrub identification
  • Providing and enhancing wildlife habitat
  • Forest ecology and soils
  • Invasive plant identification and control
  • Converting open land to meadows and woods
  • Providing edible fruits and nuts and other ways to diversity your woods
The webinars run from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday nights for nine weeks beginning Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
All lectures are recorded and can be viewed later if a live session is missed. The registration deadline is Saturday, January 18, 2020.
To learn more and register, visit the Penn State Extension website.
DEP, PennDOT, and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Announce Statewide Initiative to Reduce Littering
The Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, in partnership with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, announced an initiative to reduce littering; and shared results of the first statewide litter study in more than 20 years.
More than 96 percent of survey respondents in the litter study said littering is a problem in Pennsylvania.
There is an estimated 500 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania roads. The most common items are cigarette butts and plastics, such as plastic food packaging, bottles, and bags.
Motorists and pedestrians are leading litterers, followed by improperly secured truck loads.
“Thankfully, environmental education programs and organized clean-ups help curtail littering at our 121 state parks, but illegal dumping remains a chronic problem in some state forests throughout the state,” said DCNR Deputy Secretary Michael Walsh.
“Managers of Michaux State Forest, in the southcentral section of the state, are actively deploying surveillance cameras in an attempt to deter roadside dumping, which often leaves the district facing high disposal costs.”
DEP, PennDOT, and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will release a report presenting conclusions and complete data from the study in the new year; and will begin to develop measures to reduce littering behavior.
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% 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. 
A holiday garland of evergreen bows hangs on a railing with pinecones and ribbon tied on
The holiday season is here! Before you make a trip to the store for gifts and decorations, try making some yourself this year!
Make a gift, wreath, and some memories at one of the upcoming events at Pennsylvania state parks:

Happy Thanksgiving from DCNR!

A pond reflects pine trees along its banks and blue skies and white clouds above. Text on Image: We're thankful for our volunteers, partners, and visitors who appreciate our special natural places.

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