Natural Resources

Nearly 140,000 acres of state park lands and at least 204,000 acres of state forest lands currently require some management work to provide adequate ecosystem services and recreational opportunities.

This includes management of former conifer plantation sites, increasing resiliency to climate change in plant communities, controlling invasive plants on land, and creating and maintaining early successional habitat and other unique habitats and plant communities.

1/5

Pennsylvania’s habitats, such as forests and grasslands, have been impacted for many years by deer over-browsing, the exclusion of fire, and by invasive pests and diseases.

The overall effect of these impacts has led to areas where habitats are diminished in health and diversity.

2/5

Portions of some Pennsylvania state parks, and particularly state forests, are affected by the legacy of past industrial uses such as abandoned oil and gas wells and coal mines.

Abandoned mine drainage contaminates local streams and rivers, typically killing off all aquatic life with which it comes in contact.

 

3/5

Cost for clean up: $275 million

…and would require the hiring of outside contractors to complete. Orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells on state park and forest lands pose hazards to both visitors and the natural world. Capping wells is estimated at $20 million to plug and remediate.

4/5

Invasive species – plants, animals, insects, and fungi that are not native to Pennsylvania and grow or spread quickly – create a costly maintenance issue for many public lands and can alter the function of the public resource.

For instance, aquatic invasive plants can prevent boating opportunities, and insects such as the emerald ash borer create safety hazards for users of the parks and forests. The loss of hemlock trees to hemlock wooly adelgid can cause stream warming and loss of fish habitat.

5/5

Ensuring healthy and robust plant communities and clean water…

…which in turn support robust wildlife communities is essential for traditional hunting and fishing sports as well as other forms of outdoor recreation such as hiking, camping water sports and more.

1/5

140k acres


of state park lands currently require some management work to provide adequate ecosystem services and recreational opportunities

204k acres


of state forest lands currently require some management work to provide adequate ecosystem services and recreational opportunities

$275 mil


is the cost for clean up

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The Problem

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