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A Message from the Secretary
It’s hard to believe I have been with DCNR for nearly 9 months already. It certainly has been a whirlwind of activity. Getting to know the agency—its programs and pressing issues—has been interesting and challenging.

I am so impressed with the breadth of DCNR’s work and join staff in taking pride in some notable accomplishments in 2011.

We threw open the doors at Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park and were once again able to experience a walk out into the Kinzua Gorge on the skywalk and glass-bottomed viewing platform at the tornado-stricken Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Our employees weathered severe storms that challenged resources as our parks and forests experienced a number of extreme weather events that threatened lives and wreaked havoc on our facilities. They went way above the call of duty to help our visitors, protect our facilities and assist citizens and communities in need.

We held the inaugural Pennsylvania Healthy and Active Communities Summit to bring together professionals from parks and recreation, health care, local government, community health, academia and other arenas to showcase strategies and resources for developing partnerships to improve community livability and encourage close-to-home recreation. Around the same time, the state’s five-year Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan was honored as the best in the nation by to the National Park Service and the National Association for Recreation Resource Planners.

We celebrated one year anniversaries for the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, the Elk Country Visitor Center and the Tiadaghton Resource Management Center, also learning that all three met the standards for Gold LEED certification related to their construction and sustainability.

These achievements only scratch the surface of DCNR’s work. This year-end report reflects on our key programs and expands on our accomplishments in 2011.

In 2012, I want to hold up DCNR as the best conservation agency in the country by focusing on our responsibility to the citizens of the Commonwealth, our staff and our natural resources.

We’ll do this by:

  • Tightening our focus on improving what we have now and managing it better and smarter;
  • Moving back to basics, adopting a “fix-it-first” approach to deal with growing infrastructure needs, new demands from energy production and the public’s need for accessible, affordable recreation; and
  • Using innovation, creativity and imagination to address these needs in new ways and with limited resources.
DCNR is blessed with dedicated and passionate employees. It has been my privilege to learn from them and serve with them.

I have no doubt we can achieve what we set out to do.

Best wishes for the new year,

Richard J. Allan

January 11, 2012

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