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Requesting Rights-of-Way for State Parks and Forests

State parks and forests have been designated for the benefit and enjoyment of all citizens of Pennsylvania. They provide healthful recreation, scenic beauty, and opportunities for sound ecosystem management.

Society requires infrastructure such as reliable sources of energy, water supply, and transportation routes.

Requests for rights-of-way (ROW) on DCNR lands are thoroughly reviewed and carefully administered by the department to minimize impact to nature while benefitting Pennsylvanians.

DCNR grants ROW requests to projects that are compatible with our management objectives after a thorough review.

DCNR’s Role

The Conservation and Natural Resources Act provides DCNR with the authority to grant ROWs through state forest lands for pipelines or transmission corridors when it will not adversely affect the land or interfere with usual administration and is in the interests of the commonwealth to do so.

Act 18 also states that DCNR can grant ROWs through state parks for laying of water and sewage lines, when DCNR deems it not adversely affecting the land or administration and is in the interest of the commonwealth. 

DCNR’s mission includes managing state forest lands for long-term health, sustainability, and economic use. DCNR approaches ROW project requests in a balanced way, weighing pros and cons. 

Some methods DCNR has put in place to minimize impacts of ROW and ensure they are compatible with our mission include:

Siting Criteria

DCNR has developed siting criteria (PDF) for all ROW requests for state park and forest lands. A clear need for the ROW should be established and alternatives should be investigated. It is DCNR’s expectation that applicants will familiarize themselves with these criteria and demonstrate their consideration. 

Some special protection areas exist where ROWs are predominately considered incompatible with DCNR’s management objectives including:

  • Within wild areas, natural areas, and state parks
  • Exemplary geologic formations; sensitive habitats; and known occurrences of rare, threatened, or endangered flora or fauna species
  • Water resources including wetlands and vernal pools

The criteria and procedures used by DCNR for ROWs on state park and forest lands were developed in cooperation with agency partners and stakeholders.

Application Process

The process for application for ROW project review includes:

  • A formal request for ROW through an application
  • Pre-survey meeting to discuss initial concerns
  • Field surveys for environmental factors
  • Post-field survey meeting for follow-up discussion
  • ROW agreement
  • Pre-construction meeting to discuss specific issues

For DCNR to consider a ROW project, applicants should submit the following as a formal request for ROW: