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Pennsylvania Legislators Propose New Commercial Development in State Parks

A pair of legislative proposals in the Pennsylvania State Legislature would open the door to private development in the state park system.
June 27, 2016, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Fall in Lackawanna State Park.
Bruce Goerlitz Photo

"Rep. Brian Ellis (R., Butler) wants to amend the 1995 Conservation and Natural Resources Act to allow development of those recreational and lodging amenities, along with the establishment of a new, politically appointed Public-Private State Park Partnership Board to propose and oversee development projects," reports Don Hopey. Think "golf courses, hotels, inns, restaurants, amusement parks, water slides, and other outdoor sports facilities."

Hopey's coverage surveys the reactions of politicians and environmental groups to the proposed legislation by Ellis. Environmentalists spoke out to support the state park system, as it currently functions and exists, and also voiced concerns that the bill is a precursor to more aggressive development plans that would turn the state's parks into "piggy banks."

Hopey also notes a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), who would create the Arnold Palmer Trails Program. According to a memo from Rep. Christiana announcing the bill, the program would direct the Pennsylvania Department of General Services "to establish a minimum of four golf courses (north, south, east and west regions) located within four of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks, which encompass over 200,000 acres of land."

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Published on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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