Gov. Wolf releases plan for Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks

Pennsylvania News

FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa., regarding the counting of ballots in the 2020 general election. Facing a deep, pandemic-inflicted budget deficit, Gov. Wolf will ask lawmakers for billions of dollars funded by higher taxes on Pennsylvania’s huge natural gas industry for workforce development and employment assistance to help the state recover. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WETM/AP) — A state report released Friday lays out a plan for the Pennsylvania state park system that has seen considerable use by the public during the ongoing pandemic.

“Penn’s Parks for All” is designed to help guide state agencies in managing the 121 state parks, based in part on surveys of visitors and the public in 2017-18.

Its strategies include offering visitors “untold stories” and fixing “inaccuracies of cultural stories,” along with improving transportation access, helping people access water-based recreation and providing adequate funding.

The report says there is currently about $500 million in needed maintenance and construction projects.

Among other things, park officials are being directed to demolish costly buildings that have no historical significance and to look for ways to link state parks trails to nearby communities through greenways and ecological corridors.

Parks should see if they have mowed lawns that can be eliminated to improve animal and plant habitat and to plan for “ecological connectivity and species migration” in response to climate change.

Pennsylvania has about 300,000 acres of state parkland.

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