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Sustainable Practices on DCNR Lands

As the state’s leading conservation agency, DCNR strives to model practices that conserve and sustain our natural resources. Through its green and sustainable initiative, DCNR exemplifies best practices through its:

  • Buildings
  • Vehicle fleet
  • Purchases
  • Land management
  • Business operations

DCNR High-Performing Facilities

DCNR manages more than 4,700 buildings within its complex and geographically diverse state park and forest systems, creating many opportunities to deploy energy efficient systems and materials.

One way to ensure best practices is to strive for high-performance buildings standards, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) -- a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

LEED-Certified Buildings

Currently, DCNR has 14 LEED-certified buildings:

  • Sproul State Forest Resource Management Center -- DCNR’s first LEED-rated facility
  • Clear Creek State Forest Resource Management Center -- LEED certified
  • Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle State Park -- LEED Silver certified
  • Rothrock State Forest Resource Management Center -- LEED certified
  • Tiadaghton State Forest Resource Management Center -- LEED Gold certified
  • Loyalsock State Forest Resource Management Center -- LEED Silver certified
  • The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park -- LEED Gold certified
  • Elk Country Visitor Center -- LEED Gold certified
  • The Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park -- LEED Silver certified
  • Penn Nursery Office at Mira Lloyd Dock Resource Conservation Center -- LEED Silver certified
  • Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center -- LEED Silver certified
  • Weiser State Forest Resource Management Center -- LEED Gold certified
  • Ohiopyle State Park Office -- Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center -- LEED Gold certified
  • Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office -- LEED Silver certified

Pursuing Leed Certification

The following DCNR facilities are currently going through the certification process, and a few are in the planning stage:

  • Buchanan State Forest Resource Management Center -- Pursuing LEED certification
  • Patrick J. Solano Environmental Education Center at Frances Slocum State Park -- Pursuing LEED certification
  • Gallitzin State Forest Resource Management Center -- Pursuing LEED certification.
  • Delaware State Forest Resource Management Center -- In the planning stages -- will pursue LEED certification
  • Delaware Canal State Park Visitor Center -- In the planning stage -- will pursue LEED certification
  • Hickory Run State Park Visitor Center -- In the design stages, with LEED certification intended

Solar Energy

Using the clean energy from the sun, DCNR is deploying small scale solar arrays to take certain buildings and facilities off the grid, saving money and reducing DCNR’s carbon footprint. By the end of 2017, DCNR’s solar installations should:
  • Save more than $30,000/year on electric
  • Reduce CO₂ emissions by 160 tons/year (average car emits 6 tons per year)
  • Reduce energy consumption by 220,000 kWh/year (average American home uses 10,812 kWh per year)

Planned solar arrays include:

  • Presque Isle State Park -- 10 kW Ground mounted array for the Tom Ridge Environmental Center was completed September 2016, which will result in a savings of $1,200/year and a reduction of 8 tons of CO₂/year
  • Fort Washington State Park -- 25 kW ground-mounted array hopes to reduce 20 tons of CO₂/year and allow the park to operate at net zero energy consumption (Anticipated completion December 2017)
  • Moraine State Park. 103 kW ground-mounted array will supply 50% of treatment plant’s energy reducing 64 tons of CO₂/year (Anticipated completion February 2018)
  • Scenic View at Laurel Hill State Park -- 90 kW ground mounted aims to reduce 68 tons of CO₂/year (Anticipated completion February 2018)
  • Caledonia State Park -- 1.74 kW roof-mounted array with battery storage will power three hand dryers and five LED lights in the bathroom to take it off the grid (Anticipated completion September 2017)


DCNR is focused on the responsible use of agency resources while promoting sustainable best practices. Because of its dispersed work at more than 150 locations throughout the state, DCNR manages a large fleet of nearly 1,600 vehicles -- from patrol cars in parks and forests, to heavy equipment.

DCNR is analyzing its entire fleet and developing pilot projects to deploy electric vehicles and charging stations in locations most suitable. This includes plans to enhance the visitor experience at our facilities by identifying opportunities to implement vehicle charging stations for public use.

Enhancing public transportation to state parks not only reduces personal vehicle emissions, but also provides a viable transportation option for those who otherwise might not have access to the state parks.

Presque Isle State Park in Erie began a pilot during 2017 with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority to create free weekday bus routes in the summer into the park.

Frances Slocum State Park near Wilkes Barre has a similar service arrangement with the Luzerne County Transportation Authority, which for the past several summers, has offered summer bus routes into the park.