McAdoo, Pennsylvania — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced the acquisition of a 5,600-acre parcel of land which will be developed into a motorized recreation area in the Weiser State Forest in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.
The acquisition was made possible by the nearly $700 million secured by Governor Tom Wolf in the 2022-23 budget for conservation, recreation and preservation across the Commonwealth. The funding will also enable the development of three new state parks in locations to be announced later this year.
“We at DCNR are very pleased to announce the acquisition of this property and look forward to its being developed into the Catawissa Recreation Area, the first such area in our state forest system.” , Dunn said. “As a statewide leader, DCNR is working to expand outdoor recreation across the Commonwealth, and this is an exciting new opportunity that we believe will help to strengthen the region’s reputation as a destination.”
The DCNR acquired the land with funding designated in 2022-23 Pennsylvania Budget, to provide various opportunities for motorized recreation. The ministry is working with a consultant to develop and implement a motorized recreation plan, which will include community and stakeholder input.
The Catawissa Recreation Area includes land that included the site of an all-terrain vehicle park, Paragon Adventure Park, which closed over 10 years ago.
“This is an important step for the expansion of motorized recreation in Pennsylvania and a type of outdoor recreation where we are seeing growing interest,” said DCNR Deputy Secretary John Norbeck. “Acquiring this land also helps us achieve a number of conservation goals, including improving and protecting water quality, restoring degraded lands, conserving ecological resources, and providing educational opportunities to visitors and the surrounding community.”
The property has significant ecological value as a large contiguous tract of forest including sensitive plant habitats, high quality tributaries to Catawissa Creek and the presence of a stand of ancient hemlock. In addition to improving motorized recreation in Pennsylvania, the new area will provide opportunities for natural resource management, restoration of water quality and rehabilitation of abandoned mining lands in the region.
“Our State Forestry team is equally excited about the motorized recreation area and the conservation work that will be done to restore the Catawissa Creek watershed,” said State Forestry Ellen Shultzabarger. “The legacy of this project will be long-term protection of plant and animal habitats, cleaning up the source of acid mine drainage discharges and creating a new asset in the area.”
DCNR rangers will patrol the site to manage existing activities and control unauthorized use until the motorized recreation area opens, scheduled for summer 2024.
Outdoor recreation is responsible for nearly $12 billion in economic impact and thousands of jobs across Pennsylvania, making the addition of the Catawissa Recreation Area a key part of the sector’s growing contribution Commonwealth Outdoor Recreation.
“Visiting a recreation area like Catawissa is not just a fun way to spend a day in nature with family and friends. It makes a significant contribution to the prosperity of rural communities in Pennsylvania,” said Outdoor Recreation Director Nathan Reigner. “Each year, motorized outdoor recreation contributes more than $350 million to Pennsylvania’s economy, a contribution that directly benefits small businesses, such as vehicle dealerships and repair shops, restaurants, gas stations and accommodations near destinations like Catawissa as well as in riders. home towns.
State forestry officials will manage the land until planning is complete and a contractor assumes control of operations. The project serves as a new model for using liquid fuels funds and state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) restoration funds to conserve land while expanding opportunities for ATVs, off-road motorcycles road, all-terrain vehicles and other forms of recreation.
Visit the DCNR website for more information on Motorized Recreation and State Forests.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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