A Message from the Secretary
In my almost two years as secretary of DCNR, I have been fortunate to get out of the office and travel to a number of our parks and forests and see some of our conservation landscape work in action. I am up to more than 40 state parks and 11 forests districts. Since I have committed to visiting all of our facilities, I still have a ways to go.
We were pleased to join Governor Tom Corbett in summer 2012 on two kayak tours—one on several waterways in the western part of the state, and a second on the Delaware River—which gave DCNR the chance to showcase our facilities in several regions as well as how our community investments promote economic development. The governor was impressed with all facets of our work—from our parks, to our forests, to our community connections.
As I travel the state, the people on the street, in the towns and communities, all tell me they are appreciative of the great job DCNR does, and I have to agree.
I join staff in taking pride in some notable accomplishments in 2012:
- The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail bridge—closed due to safety reasons in late 2009 and dismantled a few months later—was reopened in the same location crossing over the turnpike near Somerset. The trail is a major regional recreational attraction, drawing 80,000 to 100,000 hikers and other visitors a year.
- Some spectacular exhibits are now available to visitors at the Tiadaghton Resource Management Center in the Pennsylvania Wilds to educate and inform them about the history of the Pine Creek Valley and recreational activities in the region.
- DCNR assisted in wildfire suppression not only in Pennsylvania, but also sent 258 personnel to 19 other states, mostly in the western part of the country, to aid in battling wildfires.
- The department undertook some innovative work to launch a mobile website to make it easier for users of smartphones and tablet devices to connect with Pennsylvania’s natural world while on-the-go. Interactive maps also went live online in 2012 with layers of information including locations, directions, weather reports and geologic features.
This is only a sampling of DCNR’s work. This year-end report reflects on our key programs and expands on our accomplishments in 2012.
I have no doubt that 2013 will be another year of notable achievements in conservation and recreation.
Best wishes for the new year,
Richard J. Allan