PPFF President Marci Mowery joined a Growing Greener III, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Conservation Fund and several other organizations on Saturday to celebrate clean water and to call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to fund the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection and to invest in creating a Growing Greener III. What follows are remarks made by PPFF President Marci.
Remarks: Good morning, and welcome to the Weiser State Forest. If you paddled down the river, you passed river islands that are part of the 2.2 million acres of state forest that comprise your state forest system. Our forests provide us with clean water by slowing runoff, filtering water, removing carbon dioxide, and controlling water temperature.
My name is Marci Mowery and I am President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, your voice for conservation of our state parks and forests. We and our 40 friends groups, donate time, money and energy to conserve the lands we all hold so dear.
But our parks and forests cannot run on volunteer efforts and contributions alone—they need the support of a strong budget for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the investment in a Growing Greener III—actions that make both ecological and economic sense.
There are many facts and figures that support a need to invest in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a Growing Greener III, but instead we are faced with cuts to DCNR which could mean:
- Shortened camping seasons, removing shoulder seasons for anglers and hunters
- Reduced access to overnight accommodations
- Reduction in staffing that keep visitors safe, that educate the public, and that keep our parks and forests running smoothly
- Inability to meet the demand for new or connector trails
- Deferred maintenance which leads to more costs down the road
- Staff shortages during fire season
- Reduced bridge and dam inspections and reduced maintenance on roads
- Limited ability to oversee lease transactions
- Reduced investment in community recreation and open space
At PPFF, we recognize that access to recreation, parks, forests, and trails are critical to the economy, the environment, to water quality, and to the health and well-being of all residents. We urge the general assembly to invest in a cost-to-carry budget for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, to fully staff DCNR operations, and to support a Growing Greener III.
As you enjoy our mighty Susquehanna River, remember that preservation of our forests and water quality has always been championed by individuals like you, and that you hold the power to urge your elected officials to invest in the health of our people and our environment, and for the economic vitality of our state.
Again, I am Marci Mowery of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, and I thank you for your commitment to our state lands and water quality. Enjoy today!
Note: Photo courtesy of Larry Laird