FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP -- There are no entrance or user fees for any state park currently in Pennsylvania, but that could change at Beltzville State Park in Carbon County because the park is often overcrowded on hot summer weekends.
A state lawmaker hopes implementing a small parking fee might help cut down the crowds. Dozens of people were catching some rays on the beach Thursday. Celena DiAngelis from Brooklyn, New York was one of those sun bathers.
"Back home in Brooklyn, we don't have places like this, and if we want to get away we come here. It's nice because it is free," said DiAngelis.
But the free-for-all might not last.
State Representative Doyle Heffley, (R) Carbon County, who's from Lehighton, tells us he received a petition with 2,000 signatures complaining about the crowded conditions at the park, especially on weekends.
Heffley believes a small parking fee could help preserve the beauty of the park. People from Pennsylvania would pay less than people from out of state.
"A proposal that we are tossing around is looking at ways to encourage DCNR, or to allow them, to charge a fee to access some of our parks. Certainly the budget right now, we fund DCNR, but you have a lot of people from out of state coming into our parks," said Heffley.
Carol Stine of Philadelphia doesn't mind the idea.
"I think it is necessary. I was surprised, first of all, that it was free because how can that because there is all this to support," said Stine.
If a small fee was implemented, it would help with problems, including trash that was left over from the weekend. Staff would be able to get to the park sooner to clean it up.
"Certainly charging something would help minimize and definitely take care of it," said Stine.
Not everyone Newswatch 16 spoke to at Beltzville like the payment possibility.
"If I want to come with my friends, who wants to put out money to sit on a beach when we can do it for free, especially with a beautiful view," said DiAngelis.
State Rep. Heffley tells us it will be up to DCNR to give the go-ahead for the fee at Beltzville State Park. No word on if or when that could happen.
The trash left after the big fourth of July weekend is expected to be cleaned up by volunteers on July 14.