Parks Face Budget Cuts

One of the many state agencies on the budget chopping block is the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

DCNR maintains state parks across the state, and officials said the loss of millions of dollars in funding could affect upkeep at the parks.

Millions of dollars that was allocated to DCNR is now going back into the state’s general fund to help deal with other deficits.

People who use the more than 100 state parks in Pennsylvania said that’s a big loss.

These brave gentlemen are hoping for a bite out ice fishing on the lake at Prompton State Park near Honesdale.

The DCNR oversees Prompton and 115 other state parks across the commonwealth.

However, a proposed cut of funding to DCNR could impact maintenance and programs offered.

“Well I guess the state doesn’t have the money. That`s all I can think about, that`s why they have to make the cuts,” said Edward Tarchack of Carbondale.

Edward and Veronica Tarchack enjoy taking drives through the state park and are disappointed in the proposed cuts to the agency.

“It`s really a shame because we used to go swimming down there, and they cut that out. The kids used to go ice skating here and they cut that out now, so it’s a shame,” said Veronica Tarchack.

The governor’s budget would transfer about 30 million dollars away from DCNR and instead put that money back in the general fund.

DCNR spokesperson Christina Novak said:

“Although we will receive environmental stewardship fund and federal dollars, this transfer would have a significant impact on our community conservation partnership program grants and maintenance of state park and forest infrastructure in the next fiscal year.”

People who visit state parks said they hope the budget cuts don’t affect their enjoyment of the outdoors.

“I love the trails, I love being here. We always enjoy it, come swimming in the summer, so I’m disappointed,” said Ana Flood of Blooming Grove.

Flood said she comes at least five days a week, walking miles through the park.

“I`m really dismayed because this is one of the things that Pennsylvania does have to offer. I moved up here from New Jersey to get away from it all and enjoy nature. Thirty million is a huge sum of money, at least in my opinion,” said Flood.

DCNR officials said they will get nearly 70 million dollars from the oil and gas lease fund to help run the parks, and they do not anticipate closing any of the state parks or making staff cuts.

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