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State parks generate $1 billion in local economic activity, support jobs
DCNR Secretary Richard Allan last week released a new analysis showing visitors to Pennsylvania’s State Parks generate more than $1 billion in economic activity in nearby communities and support almost 13,000 related jobs.

“Pennsylvanians get a great return on the investment they make in state parks. The report shows for every dollar invested, more than $12 is returned to Pennsylvania’s economy,” Allan said. “Connecting communities to our natural resources through their state parks generates significant local economic activity and helps build sustainable local economies.”

The study, conducted by Penn State University’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, was based on data from 2010, when state parks hosted about 38 million visitors. Read more...

Grants available to preserve and promote south-central Pennsylvania’s natural and cultural assets
DCNR Secretary Richard Allan recently announced that the South Mountain Partnership has mini-grants available that communities and organizations can use to protect and promote natural and cultural assets in the south-central region of the state. Read more...

DCNR plans white-water release into Tohickon Creek in Bucks County
White-water boating enthusiasts will have a chance to test their paddling skills in some tricky rapids March 17-18 when the DCNR releases water from Lake Nockamixon into the Tohickon Creek in Bucks County. Read more...

Coldwater Heritage Partnership announces 2012 grants
The Coldwater Heritage Partnership recently announced more than $58,000 in grants to local organizations to protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. Read more...

DCNR colleagues bid farewell to Bureau of Forestry leader
His photograph hangs on the sixth floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, framed by the likenesses of men and women who have emerged as virtual pillars in the American success story that is Pennsylvania forestry. Read more...

Also in the News

DCNR announces new trails report
DCNR recently released the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee’s 2011 Annual Report. The report describes more than 30 major trail projects in 18 counties throughout Pennsylvania. The projects represent significant accomplishments in trail planning, development, construction, maintenance and promotion. Actions reported include organizing trail work crews, constructing additional trail miles, improving trail access, leading trail sojourns, building user-friendly apps and web resources, and posting signage for trail users.

The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee, assembled to help inform and guide statewide trail program decisions, continues to work toward the goal of a trail in every community throughout the Commonwealth. The annual report can be downloaded here or here. For more information about trails visit here.

Bureau of Forestry compiles 2011 fire statistics
With eyes and ears on daily weather maps and reports of expected wind and rain, the Bureau of Forestry’s Wildfire Protection section is looking toward what could be a very busy spring. It was the weather—specifically a cool, wet spring—that proved that unit’s strongest ally in 2011. According to official statistics—that is, fires reported by municipalities as well as those bureau employees and/or forest fire wardens responded to for suppression and/or investigation—there were 202 reported fires in 2011 that burned 580 acres of field, brush and woodlands. A total of 133 of those fires occurred in the spring, burning 378 acres.

The largest fire burned across 94 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna State Forest District on April 26. Weiser State Forest District reported the most fires for the year—41, across 41 acres—and Lackawanna district had the most acres burned—130, in 16 fires. Leading cause across the state was incendiary, with arsonists starting 70 fires that scorched 220 acres.

Bids approved for state forest work
Bridge and culvert replacement work will proceed on roadways within the Rothrock State Forest District after bids recently were approved by DCNR’s Bureau of Facility Design and construction.

A bid of $298,847 from Wen-Brooke Contracting Inc., Three Springs, was approved Feb. 23 for replacement of a Lingle Valley Road bridge over Laurel Creek in Armagh Township, Mifflin County. A bid for $574,759, submitted by Flyway Excavating Inc., Lititz, was accepted Feb. 22 for box culvert replacements along Martin Road in Miller Township, Huntingdon County.

DCNR up for technology award
With necessity being the mother of invention, a business solution designed by DCNR’s Bureau of Information Technology has been nominated for a Pennsylvania Technology Award. The award will be announced and presented on March 30 in Harrisburg at the annual gala that celebrates and honors the brightest technology leaders and innovators from across the commonwealth.

DCNR is vying for the Best Application of Technology award for designing the Legislature Contact Management System to create, send and track correspondences between DCNR and the General Assembly. Without the tool, the department spent much time manually—and inefficiently—tracking email messages and spreadsheets. The new system automates and collects the various pieces of information and communication into one storage system.

The award ceremony is hosted by TechQuest, a Harrisburg-based tech firm. Those interested in voting for DCNR are encouraged to go here and find “Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.”

Agency Spotlight

Rothrock State Forest
Here's a forest that pretty much didn't exist about a hundred years ago. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Orienteering for Beginners at Kings Gap
March 17. Held 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Orienteering is defined as the skill of finding your way on a course using a map and compass. Join members of the Susquehanna Valley Orienteering Club to discover more about the sport of orienteering. Receive instruction on the basics of compass use and reading topographic maps. Participants will also have the opportunity to run a beginners’ level orienteering course. Loaner compasses will be available. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. No registration is required for this free program, which will begin in the education building and is recommended for ages 8 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call Kings Gap at (717) 486-3799.

Sustainable Backyard Landscape series to kick off in March
A workshop series focusing on backyard sustainability will be offered throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2012. The series is sponsored by DCNR, the Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The series includes:

Registration information is available at the links. All program fees include lunch and program materials. For more information, contact Vincent Cotrone, Penn State Forester, at (570) 825-1701; or Diane Madl, DCNR State Parks, at (570) 403-2006.

For more DCNR events, go here.

March 14, 2012

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