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DCNR bridge dedication draws a crowd—atop the Pennsylvania Turnpike
The late-May dedication of a DCNR bridge reaching over the Pennsylvania Turnpike meant so many things to so many people gathered outside Somerset. Hikers and bikers, hunters, equestrians and snowmobilers, they all came to celebrate what they said is invaluable to their enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Laurel Highlands.

Diverse interests, mutual appreciation. That is what drew some 50 speakers and onlookers to a steep slope overlooking the turnpike where the new Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail bridge crosses just about midway between the Somerset and Donegal exits. Subtly, it shouts a message to passersby that cannot be ignored, said Somerset Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ronald Aldom.

“I love the natural billboard. Who could ask for a more tasteful advertisement than this?” Aldom said. Read more...

Pennsylvania state parks, forests roll out welcome mat for summer visitors
Pennsylvania?s forest and park system offers a wide range of ways for visitors to enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer, according to the DCNR. Read more...

Three Pennsylvania state parks to host ‘Get Outdoors Day’ events
Three state parks across Pennsylvania have been selected to host a series of special events on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, in a nationwide Get Outdoors Day celebration, DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said this week. Read more...

Quickly, gracefully, a new Philadelphia park takes shape along the Delaware River
What a difference six months make.

Efforts to protect historic Camp Security gaining ground
The Conservation Fund announced May 11 that it has purchased a 47-acre property that was the primary site of Camp Security, a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp from the Revolutionary War. Read more...

Luzerne County school team captures Pa. Envirothon honors
Scoring 537 points of a possible 600, a student team from MMI Preparatory School in Luzerne County was named 2012 Pennsylvania State Envirothon champions in 29th Pennsylvania State Envirothon competition May 22-23 at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Read more...

Annual camp hones skills of wildfire fighters
Wildland firefighters from across the state again gathered for an intense, two-day training camp in Union County that prepares them for possible deployment to wildfires and other natural disasters in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Read more...

Coalition rolls out support for trail connections, extensions
On this sun-washed day in Philadelphia, the proof was in the pedaling. Read more...

Also in the News

DCNR collects GIS award
Earning recognition for a collaborative project designed to improve the amount of information available to a DCNR website visitor, the agency won the best “Maps & Apps” award at the 2012 Pennsylvania GIS Conference.  For the contest, DCNR submitted a recently-released, interactive map which pulls a wide variety of state park information and displays it within a geographical context. The type of information includes park amenities and available activities, driving directions, weather forecasts and a variety of other helpful data for the outdoor enthusiast.

A state forest “layer” for the map is expected to be available this summer. To take a “tour” of the interactive map, visit here.

Gov. Corbett nominates Brian Hoover to serve on Pennsylvania Game Commission
Governor Tom Corbett today nominated Brian H. Hoover, of Glenolden, Delaware County, to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Following confirmation by the Pennsylvania Senate, Hoover will represent the Game Commission board’s District 8.

Hoover serves as the manager of the Borough of Glenolden and is responsible for the borough government’s day-to-day operations. He previously owned and operated South East Archery and Sports, which was one of the leading outdoor sales facilities in the Philadelphia region. Hoover has 27 years of experience as a hunter education instructor. He holds degrees from Penn State University and Delaware County Community College. He is a member of the Delaware County Field and Stream Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation and is a life member of the National Rifle Association.

Residents encouraged to participate in Appalachian bat survey
Pa. Game Commission biologists are seeking assistance from residents in a regional monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer. This monitoring is especially important due to the mortalities in bat populations throughout the northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania, being caused by White-Nose Syndrome (WNS).

To obtain applications and information on how to participate, visit the Game Commission’s website and click on “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, click on “Wildlife” in the drop-down menu, scroll down and choose “Pennsylvania Bats” in the Mammal section, and then click on “Appalachian Bat Count” in the Reference listing. Forms on the website guide interested participants through the steps of timing, conducting a survey and submitting their findings to the Game Commission. Scout groups, 4-H clubs, local environmental organizations, and individual homeowners can all participate in this important effort.

For more information on WNS, visit here. To report observations of sick or multiple dead bats, go here.

User survey to be conducted on the D&L Trail
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has launched a six-month survey of D&L Trail users that will help determine trail user characteristics and attitudes and the financial impact of trail users on local businesses. Work on the survey began in April with the help of a $10,000 grant from DCNR. Boxes containing the survey—a postage-paid self-mailer—are being installed at major trailheads along the D&L Trail. Trail users are encouraged to fill out a survey and mail it the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy headquarters in Washington, DC in. Data from the surveys will be analyzed by staff in the Northeast Regional Office. A final report will be compiled and distributed in 2013.

The D&L Trail User Survey is the seventh in a series of user surveys being done on Pennsylvania trails. The Conservancy’s most recent survey was on the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail and Conewago Recreational Trail in Lancaster County, which have a combined total of 20½ miles. The survey documented more than 125,000 annual who had an economic impact of $1.3 million to local businesses.

The D&L Trail is the spine of the five-county Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Using a combination of rails-to-trails and canal towpaths, the D&L Trail extends 165 miles from outside Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County to Bristol in Lower Bucks County. For more information on the D& L Trail, visit here.

Agency Spotlight

Cornplanter State Forest
The American chestnut was big in this state forest—and may be again. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Using a Compass at R.B. Winter State Park
June 9. Held 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Learn the basics of using a compass during this course for kids and adults. After we master orienting the compass we will test our skills on a simple compass course. Kids under the age of 12 need an adult. Meet at the Halfway Run Environmental Learning Center. For more information, call (570) 966-1455.

'Motorized Recreation in Pennsylvania – Partnerships for Progress' workshop to cover OHV recreation
June 7-9. Held at the Best Western Country Cupboard Inn, Lewisburg. The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), in conjunction with DCNR and the Pennsylvania OHV Association (PaOHVA), will present a three-day workshop that includes two days of classroom sessions and one day of field sessions to provide hands-on opportunities to apply what is learned in the classroom.  Topics will include principles of OHV recreation management; planning, operation and maintenance of sustainable trail systems; benefits of active management; economic benefits of OHV recreation; conflict resolution; effective use of volunteers; and partnership development opportunities. A nominal registration fee will be charged.   For more information, visit here.

Sustainable Backyard Landscape series
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:

  • Sustainable Landscapes Bus Tour – Sept. 20 in Luzerne County
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.

June 6, 2012

Agency Spotlight

Cornplanter State Forest

Cornplanter State Forest

The American chestnut was big in this state forest—and may be again. Read more...

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