Making staff and visitors reflect all Pennsylvanians is a DCNR priority.
Making staff and visitors reflect all Pennsylvanians is a DCNR priority.
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
February 19, 2020
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Earth Day 50 Series Blog Banner Diversity Climate for newsletter
Diversity Imbalances in Conservation and Park Agencies
As Pennsylvania’s conservation leader, DCNR is taking action to ensure a commonwealth that is resilient to a changing climate.
Maintaining the state’s natural resources can only be strengthened by diverse thinking that comes with the differing perspectives of education, life experiences, and economic status.
A lack of diversity among staff and visitors is not uncommon in the conservation and environmental community.
At DCNR, the workforce is 75 percent male, and 97 percent white, remaining largely unchanged for the past 20 years. 
Making the department’s staff and visitors more reflective of all Pennsylvanians is a top priority. Read more
Two dogs lay on the ground
More State Park Campsites Allowing Pets in 2021
More campsites will be open to pets when they visit Pennsylvania state parks next year.
“Knowing many of our campers like to plan their stays well in advance, we’re getting the word out early that almost 50 new sites at six state parks will be ‘pet friendly’ next year,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
“Both our Pet Camping and Dogs in Cabins programs have expanded slowly and cautiously as park officials gauge camper acceptance and pet owner compliance. We know many of our campers say their park stays are enhanced by the presence of pets.”
For the 2021 camping season, a total of 46 new pet-friendly campsites have been added to:
  • Codorus, York County (13 sites)
  • Frances Slocum, Luzerne County (14)
  • Ohiopyle, Fayette County (3)
  • Ryerson Station, Greene County (7)
  • Tobyhanna, Monroe County (7)
  • Trough Creek, Huntingdon County (2)
Ohiopyle also will offering an ADA-compliant cottage that permits pets. Read more
Playground equipment with trees in the background
DCNR State Park Playgrounds Are Now Smoke-Free
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced a ban on all forms of tobacco, vaping, and e-cigarettes at playgrounds in all state parks.
The state park playground ban eliminates children’s exposure to secondhand smoke at 135 locations in the state’s 121 parks. Notification signs will be installed by Memorial Day, May 25, 2020.
“Directly in line with our parks’ mission of promoting healthy lifestyles, their playgrounds join the growing number of county, borough, and township park facilities that embrace the Young Lungs at Play program and now forbid tobacco use,” Dunn said. “Our children should be guaranteed the right to play in clean air and healthy areas that are free of secondhand smoke.”
In a related move, responding to visitor requests and support, DCNR in prior years has implemented smoking controls at 44 of its 54 swimming beaches at state parks throughout the state. Smoking is not permitted at state park pools. Read more
A snowmobiler rides across the snow in front of some trees.
DCNR Announces Funding Availability for Snowmobile and ATV Projects
A grant program benefitting snowmobile- and ATV-related projects throughout Pennsylvania will be accepting applications through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
“These grants are designed to enhance the riding experience and enjoyment of ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts across the state, who supply funding when they register their vehicles,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We know improved riding means more visitors to areas where their numbers can have a positive economic impact on nearby communities.”
Grants are open to municipalities, and non-profit and private organizations.
Proposed snowmobile- and ATV- related projects eligible for DCNR grants include:
  • Planning
  • Land acquisition
  • Development
  • Rehabilitation
  • Maintenance
  • Purchase of equipment for maintenance and construction
  • Development of educational programs related to snowmobile and ATV trails and facilities
Earth Day 50 Feature Good natured Pennsylvanian
Franklin Kury is a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 representing Montour and Northumberland Counties, and a former member of the Pennsylvania State Senate serving from 1973 to 1980 representing Columbia, Juniata, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union counties.
During his time as a lawmaker, Kury was a leader in the enactment of fundamental environmental laws that are the culmination of the environmental revolution that marked the end of the exploitation of the state’s natural resources by the coal, steel, and railroad industries.
In 1967, he drafted and introduced the legislation that led to the establishment of Article I, Section 27, of the Pennsylvania Constitution -- also known as the Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment.
This amendment states that, “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come…”
Franklin was a powerful voice declaring the people’s right to a clean environment and requirement of government to be stewards of parks and other public lands in trust for the people.
His leadership resulted in legislation such as the Clean Streams Act, which protects Pennsylvania’s waterways and fresh water resources, and enables those who violate it to be held responsible.
Franklin also led an effort that resulted in the enactment of Pennsylvania’s flood plain and storm water management laws.
For his efforts, he was the winner of the 2012 Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award from the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation, as well as being honored by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.
He retired voluntarily from the Senate in 1980.
Franklin Kury’s leadership and environmental activism helped shape the laws and tools used today to conserve Pennsylvania’s beloved natural resources for years and generations to come.
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

Learn How to Conserve Your Woods at Free Dauphin County Woodland Owners Conference
Private woodland owners are encouraged to attend the Dauphin County Woodland Owners Association’s tenth annual Woodland Owner’s Conference on Saturday, March 14, at the Dauphin County Agricultural & Natural Resources Center in Dauphin, PA.
The day-long conference will provide private forest landowners with forest management strategies to promote sustainable forestry. Topics include:
  • Forest pest management
  • Edible plants of the forest
  • Climate change in Pennsylvania
  • Woodrat and bat habitat
  • Landscaping for wildlife
  • Herbicide operations for landowners
This program is free and open to the public with an optional catered lunch available for $10 -- payable at registration. Additional information, including how to register, is available at the Dauphin County Woodland Owners Association website.
People stand in a large room speaking with one another
Register Now for the 2020 Pennsylvania Riparian Forest Buffer Summit
Conservation professionals working with riparian forest buffers from all sectors -- beginners to seasoned decision makers alike -- are encouraged to attend the Pennsylvania Riparian Forest Buffer Summit.
Hosted by DCNR and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the summit will be held Wednesday, March 11 - Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Altoona.
The Buffer Summit provides conservation professionals and decision makers with the latest science, policy, and implementation strategies to get trees planted along the commonwealth’s streams.
Attendees have substantial opportunities to network with each other and with exhibiting sponsors throughout the two-day event.
Additional information, including how to register, can be found on the DCNR website.
Two people kneel on the ground and look at a plant.
Pa. Plant Conservation Network to Hold Second Public Stakeholder Meeting
Help build a future where Pennsylvania’s native plants are thriving, abundant, and cared for by a vibrant and inclusive community of conservation advocates!
The Pennsylvania Plant Conservation Network -- established by DCNR to cultivate collaborative projects across the state to advance native plant conservation -- will hold its second annual meeting on Friday, March 27, 2020, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., as a part of the Pennsylvania Rare Plant Forum in Monaca, Pa.
Attendees will learn about network developments and engage in a conversation about how to get involved.
Network partners will also share ongoing or proposed rare plant stewardship projects during the meeting.
Additional information about the Pa. Plant Conservation Network and meeting is available at the DCNR website.
Public Comments Being Accepted on Forest Management Project in Allegheny National Forest
The USDA Forest Service is seeking public comments about a plan to improve forest health, streams and fisheries, recreation opportunities, and wildlife habitat within the 29,410-acre Yette project area in Allegheny National Forest.
The area is located in in Hamilton, Hamlin, Lafayette, and Wetmore Townships in McKean County.
Within the project area, proposed actions include:
  • Improvements to forest health through tree harvesting and reforestation
  • Treatment of non-native invasive plants
  • Stream restoration
  • Fishery and wildlife habitat improvements
  • Adding, decommissioning, and improving roads
  • Dispersed camping site management
The Yette project is a planned, rotational forest management project in response to recent forest health issues that presently exist or are anticipated to occur.
Comments about the plan are due by Friday, March 6, 2020. Additional information, including how to submit comments, is available at the USDA Forest Service website.
Still going strong on that New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy? Why not “green” your exercise routine, while you’re at it?
Here are some tips to improve your physical fitness, while also reducing your carbon footprint:
  • Exercise outside: Instead of increasing your energy consumption via home and gym exercise machines, head outdoors to take advantage of hiking and biking trails in your area.

  • Carpool: Not only does carpooling cut down on your fuel costs and usage, but having a gym buddy is an instant incentive to keep up with your fitness goals and resolutions.

  • Ditch the single-use water bottles: Choosing refillable over one-time use plastic bottles means less waste in landfills and saves you money in the process.

  • Purchase eco-friendly clothes and second-hand equipment: Organic cotton and bamboo threads are a great place to start for sweat-friendly green fabrics. For eco-conscious equipment choices, check the web or a local sporting goods shop for great deals on second-hand bikes and weights.

  • Recycle your sneakers: Instead of throwing away shoes and other equipment, research recycling and donation programs to help those in need. There are several companies that will recycle your old sneakers and put them to good use!
Sap begins flowing in many parts of the commonwealth from mid-February through March for Pennsylvania’s maple syrup producers.
Check out these upcoming events and festivals about this all-natural product produced right here in Pennsylvania’s woods:

Featured Photo

Ice covers the bank of a turbulant creek with steep cliffs on the sides.
It's too cold to swim at Worlds End State Park! Ice was covering most of the beach area of the Loyalsock Creek this past weekend. 

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