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Pa. outdoors writers meet DCNR’s acting secretary
They came like the targets at Seven Springs’ nearby sporting clays range: scattered, quickly and sometimes tough. From members of the Pa. Outdoor Writers Association, the questions just kept coming:

DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn addresses members of the Pa. Outdoor Writers Association.
“Why aren’t more state park cabins ‘pet friendly’ to Northern-tier grouse hunters in the fall and winter?”

“Will there be stronger emphasis now on the Conservation Landscape concept across the state?”

“What will the future hold for Marcellus Shale drilling in our state forestlands?”

Fielding the queries from about 100 POWA members and guests was DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, who was a featured speaker at the association’s annual spring conference at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, Somerset County. No stranger to the group, throughout her conservation career she had addressed its members on several occasion, discussed different topic.

Wearing a variety of career hats, she had talked to them before about the health of the Chesapeake Bay, bird life in their home state and deer in their Penn’s Woods. Now, on May, 15, she was following in the heels of two of her predecessors—John Oliver and Michael DiBerardinis—accepting an invitation that said, in essence, “Tell us your vision for our state parks and state forests in the future.”

It is a vision, she said, that could be blurred if the outdoors-related media does not keep chipping away at public indifference and the disconnect between the young and the outdoor world around them. One in which “many of the kids today are not allowed out of their postage-size back yards.”

“If the general public does not have the commitment to our natural resources, they won’t have the interest and the desire to fight for and see positive changes like you have done,” she told her audience of outdoors communicators. “It’s an incredible story, one that has been influenced so strongly by your organization and others.”

Noting segmentation among outdoors enthusiasts often weakens overall goals and accomplishments, the acting secretary called upon the POWA to continue communicating the shared goals of all who enjoy the outdoors. “It’s not a case of hunter versus biker. Or birder.

“If all of us work together, we can get a lot more accomplished,” Dunn said. “And I’m looking forward to working with all of you in the years ahead.”

“It’s a great time to be outdoors right now, whether you are hiking, or fishing or birding. Continue to get out and enjoy it, write about it and film and photograph it.”

Strong applause greeted the closing. POWA members liked what she said, how she answered their questions, but they loved her evening plans: while they retired to the resort’s high-rise hotel, she was driving a short distance to Kooser State Park, where she would spend her night.

“She told me she loved it,” said State Park Manager Michael Mumau. “That’s the first thing she told me the next morning. She said she could hear the stream outside her cabin all night, and the next day there were warblers and other songbirds everywhere!”

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May 20, 2015

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