Budget Cuts Might Close 35 State Parks

If you’re planning a staycation and it includes a day in the park, just be aware—your local park may shut down because of Pennsylvania’s budget gap.

If Senate Bill 850 is enacted, 35 Pennsylvania parks and 1,000 miles of state forest roads could close, according to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acting Secretary John Quigley.

In addition to Gov. Rendell’s proposed cuts  back in February, the bill would cut an additional $19 million from the DCNR leaving many programs, such as gypsy moth spraying and tree seedling sales vulnerable, Quigley said in a press release.

“The Senate’s proposal would be absolutely devastating to these rural areas and to our efforts to preserve our natural resources for present and future generations,” Quigley said.

But, some might say Quigley is an alarmist. How he reached the conclusion 35 parks would close has not been determined, according to Sen. Joe Scarnati. And until Quigley explains himself, the public should be skeptical, Scarnati said.

Ralph Stover Park, Evansburg Park, White Clay Park and Norristown Park would all be on the chopping block.

Closing the parks would turn away three million tourists and nix about $57 million in revenue the parks bring to surrounding communities, the release noted.

Pa. has 117 state parks and 2.1 million acres of state forests.

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