Take Action to Protect Pennsylvania’s Parks and Forests
IMBA’s Mid-Atlantic office urges mountain bikers to help protect vital natural resources, including singletrack, by asking the Pennsylvania legislature to reconsider drastic budget cuts. The proposed cuts would negatively impact 117 parks and 2.1 million acres of forests managed by the state.Take Action by speaking in favor of strong funding for Pennsylvania’s treasured parks and forests. IMBA’s online form allows you to easily contact your state legislator and let him or her know that you support an equitable review off all state programs, and that state parks and forests are critical to the economic well being of the state and the health of its citizens. Additional InformationThe Senate’s current budget plan (Senate Bill 850, now in the House as Bill 1416) reduces the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) budget by about $19 million more than Governor Rendell’s current proposal. This could force DCNR to close between 35 and 50 state parks, and close more than 1,000 miles of State Forestry roads. Prime mountain bike trails in state parks such as Blue Knob, Laurel Summit, and RB Winter would be affected. The list of closures centers disproportionately on the central region of the state, where the state parks are vital to tourism and local businesses. For example, every park that the Wilderness 101 ultra endurance race passes through would be closed. The State Forest system itself would need to close 20 percent of their forest road inventory to meet the proposed budget. Read the DCNR press release. While IMBA appreciates that in these tough economic times we all need to tighten our belts, the Senate’s plan cuts a disproportionate amount from the DCNR budget. The proposal cuts the state park budget by 14 percent and the state forest budget by 30.5percent (a 17-percent reduction to DCNR overall). State parks and state forests have already taken strong cost-cutting measures to accommodate the economic downturn: reduced maintenance, limited purchasing and reductions in travel and training. The next step, should the Senate bill pass the House, would be closure and reduction in programs. DCNR is already facing a loss of their trust to the tune of $174 million, a fund created by resource extraction fees and leases.