Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Drastic Cuts to Conservation Programs

Lake Nockamixon.  Photo: DCNR
Pennsylvania has some of the best parks and trails in the country, and Pennsylvanians value the wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities that they provide.  That's why AMC is concerned about Governor Corbett's proposed 2012-2013 budget, which contains draconian cuts to the conservation programs that protect and preserve our public lands.

The proposed budget contains a 70% cut to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, a move that would spell disaster for the state parks that depend on DCNR for their operational budgets.  It also contains a proposal to completely and permanently eliminate funding for the conservation, park, and recreation programs under the Keystone Fund, a successful program that was first approved by voter referendum in 1993.  Under the proposed budget, Pennsylvania would also direct 20 million dollars from the Farmland Preservation Program into the general fund for other purposes.

Together, these proposals are the single largest cut to conservation ever proposed in Pennsylvania.  Besides being bad news for Pennsylvania's 36 million yearly visitors who love hiking, paddling, birding, and camping in state parks like Kings Gap and Nockamixon, the proposed cuts would be significant economic impacts, since Pennsylvania gets twelve dollars in return for every dollar that we invest in our park system. 

The good news is that the budget proposal is only a proposal until it is approved by our state legislature.  There are some signs the funds could be restored, at least partially, and last week the state Senate restored half of the Keystone Fund money to the budget.  But the House has yet to pass their version of the budget, and they still need to hear from us.

To find your state representative, click here.  Let them know how critical conservation funding is to outdoor recreation, and ask them to support a full restoration of the Keystone Fund, DCNR, and the Farmland Preservation Program. 

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