Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Golf, hotel, water slide coming to state park near you?

Pennsylvania’s award-winning parks could be better if golf courses, hotels. inns, restaurants,
amusement parks, water slides and other outdoor sports facilities were available inside the
parks, according to two Republican state representatives who have introduced legislation
that would open the tent flap to such development.
Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, has proposed amending the 1995
Conservation and Natural Resources Act to allow development of all
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.
And Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver, introduced legislation Monday that
would create the Arnold Palmer Trails Program to obtain a license for the
use of the Latrobe golfer’s name and oversee construction of four in-park
golf courses that reflect “the golf course design philosophy of Arnold
Mr. Ellis’ proposal, H.B. 2013, which was referred to the Committee
on Tourism and Recreational Development Tuesday and could be rushed
to a vote by the full house, drew strong opposition from environmental organizations,
which said the park development proposals do not support the conservation and outdoor
recreation mission of the parks and could usurp the professional judgement of park managers.
A letter to the house committee members sent Monday by the Pennsylvania Environmental
Council and the Nature Conservancy Pennsylvania Chapter, noted that the state’s 121 parks
are “an incredibly valuable asset” providing a multitude of affordable, healthful outdoor
recreation opportunities, while “conserving important natural, scenic, aesthetic and historical values.”
The letter noted that the state park system, which attracts 40 million visitors a year,
generates more than $1 billion in local expenditures annually, and won a National
Gold Medal for recreation and management excellence in 2009-11 from the American
Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.
Asked if Gov. Tom Wolf supports the parks development legislation, his spokesman,
Jeffrey Sheridan, issued a statement saying, “The administration is engaged in productive
conversations with Rep. Ellis regarding this legislation. We will continue working with him to
reach agreement on the language.”
Mr. Sheridan declined to respond to specific questions about whether the legislation is part
of a budget deal to sell off development rights in state parks and create a new revenue stream,
or the widespread opposition to the proposal by environmental organizations.
Like this? Use form in upper right to receive free updates
See popular posts from the last 30 days in right column --- >>

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article