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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 on DCNR lands are thoroughly reviewed and carefully administered by the department to minimize impact to nature while benefitting Pennsylvanians.

DCNR grants rights-of-way 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 rights-of-ways 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 rights-of-ways 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 rights-of-way project requests in a balanced way, weighing pros and cons.

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

Siting Criteria

DCNR has developed siting criteria (PDF) for all rights-of-way requests for state park and forest lands.

A clear need for the rights-of-way 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 rights-of-ways 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 rights-of-ways on state park and forest lands were developed in cooperation with agency partners and stakeholders.

Application Process

The process for application for rights-of-way project review includes:

  • A formal request for rights-of-way through an application
  • Pre-survey meeting to discuss initial concerns
  • Field surveys for environmental factors
  • Submission of the State Forest Environmental Review (PDF)
  • Post-field survey meeting for follow-up discussion
  • Rights-of-way agreement
  • Pre-construction meeting to discuss specific issues

For DCNR to consider a rights-of-way project, applicants should submit the following as a formal request for rights-of-way: