by Raymond Arke, KTA Program Aide
As another budget makes its way through the Pennsylvania legislature, our state parks and trails system are coming under the knife.
In House Bill 218, lawmakers are calling for a $2.8 million cut to the budget of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). This is paired with an additional cut of $1.5 million to the operations budgets of our state parks and forests.
Importantly, the Secretary of DCNR, Cindy Dunn, warned that these budget cuts would lead to the elimination of the Pennsylvania Trails Program and other similar grant programs. These grants have always benefited us and continue to presently. Currently KTA has a grant pending with DCNR that would bring in $30,000 for trail maintenance. Opportunities like that could soon disappear if this budget is passed.
DCNR said that the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, a close partner of KTA, would face staff reductions. This would significantly damage the ability of the bureau and KTA to plan and implement trail projects.
These deep cuts would be devastating to DCNR, severely impairing its ability to maintain the namesake of our state: Penn’s Woods. Secretary Dunn stated in a letter to the chairpersons of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee that the camping season in state parks would be shortened, safety patrols would be reduced, and maintenance would not be kept up.
We urge our members to contact their state senators and representatives to let them know that you care about our state’s wonderful parks and trails system. Let them know you oppose House Bill 218. The trails and forests need our help and protection because they offer us special opportunities to know the world and ourselves better. As Henry David Thoreau said, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
To find and communicate with your state legislator go to:
In addition, DCNR is conducting a survey relating to the future of Pennsylvania's State Parks. Make your opinions heard! To learn more and take the survey, click HERE.
Keystone Trails Association