(DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined state Senator John Gordner for a tour of Shikellamy State Park Friday to assess infrastructure needs for parks, forests and trails across Pennsylvania.
“This park and our network of state parks and forests are wonderful public resources that are increasingly facing operating challenges because of infrastructure needs,” Dunn said. “Visitor comfort and safety are paramount, and our trails, dams, campgrounds, bridges, and educational centers require a financial investment.”
Shikellamy State Park has several critical infrastructure concerns totaling $56 million, including a deteriorating marina building, parking lot disrepair, riverbank erosion, impacts from flooding, and other green infrastructure needs. State Senator John Gordner joined Secretary Dunn for the tour.
Shikellamy State Parks lies on the Susquehanna River and features a marina and boat launch, hiking and biking trails, and an overlook of the river.
DCNR has a documented need of more than $1.4 billion for infrastructure repairs and improvements. Issues such as addressing wear and tear, extreme weather and climate change impacts, and a high demand for outdoor recreation require investments, which also allow incorporation of sustainable design and energy efficiency.
“More and more people have flocked to the outdoors during the pandemic and we’re seeing many of them return,” Dunn said. “Investing in the outdoors provides healthy, safe recreational opportunities and boosts a key part of Pennsylvania’s economy. It is crucial we do not miss this opportunity to address our infrastructure needs so that the outdoors continue to be a destination for millions of Pennsylvanians and out-of-state visitors.”
Statewide, outdoor recreation is a $29 billion industry that directly supports 251,000 jobs. For every dollar invested in state parks, $12.41 returns to the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania made its last major injection of funding for conservation an outdoor recreation in 2005 with the Growing Greener II initiative, which funded hundreds of trail projects, conserved thousands of acres of threatened and open space and helped with hundreds of water projects to reduce pollution and flooding.