Each year our agency engages in the exercise of assessing DCNR’s progress, challenges, and future actions.
With 2022 in the books, I can say the year was one of the best years in my time with DCNR for service to the commonwealth on our public lands, in our communities, and to the people we serve.
The masses continue to flock to the outdoors for health, wellness and education, and our agency is constantly working to improve its incredible stewardship of our natural resources.
This year we can report that additional investments from the state legislature, municipal and community efforts, and growing partnerships in the nonprofit sector have helped conserve our natural beauty and improve the ecological resiliency of our lands and waters.
Staff at DCNR are exemplary commonwealth employees. They tirelessly work to continue the department’s mission of promoting, protecting, and stewarding Pennsylvania’s natural and recreational resources.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge these efforts to maintain, support, improve, and uplift our commonwealth’s natural splendor and the human-made infrastructure that make our public lands so enjoyable.
Those efforts along with the department’s work to bring close-to-home opportunities for people to experience the outdoors are transforming outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania and having a tremendous impact on the health and wellness of people in the commonwealth.
As an agency, we will continue to heed the voices of the those who turned to the outdoors for exercise, a respite from their daily lives, or are simply looking to reconnect with nature.
Through all of that support and hard work, along with the support of Governor Tom Wolf, we added three new state parks in 2022, tentatively named: Big Elk Creek, Susquehanna Riverlands, and Vosburg Neck state parks respectively.
I stood with the Governor to make the historic announcement in September and could not have been happier to be secretary in that moment. These parks will serve the public for generations yet to come.
Our successful year at DCNR didn’t stop there as we celebrated many other accomplishments. Here are some additional highlights:
The Bureau of Forestry acquired land for Catawissa Recreation Area in the Pinchot Forest District, which will bring a 5,600-acre motorized recreation area to the commonwealth and help land and water conservation projects in the region.
The department received $75 million in Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 budget to more aggressively attack our $1.4 billion infrastructure needs.
We awarded a record $90 million in grants to communities across the commonwealth to expand local recreational offerings, including for new parks, pools, trails and other related efforts.
DCNR entered into a to collaborative land management agreement with the U.S. Forest Service for 500,000 acres of forestlands, which will improve management of natural resource needs in Pennsylvania.
Our staff in the Bureau of Facility Design and Construction continued their diligent task of assuring the safety and comfort of our state park and forest visitors, working closely with all other bureaus as they focus on roads and other infrastructure, and energy conservation.
DCNR’s Bureau of Geological Survey received funds in the budget and began the process of building a new core storage facility to help advance and support the public’s knowledge and access to information about what lies below the surface.
In its eighth year in 2022, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps mobilized 147 members to complete conservation, health and safety, and visitor-readiness projects at 100 park, forest and community projects.
DCNR continued its work to ensure equitable access, investments, conservation, collaboration, and business development to support outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania through its Director of Outdoor Recreation, including the creation of a new statewide Recreation Engagement Coalition with diverse leaders from varied backgrounds.
Those, and the many notable accomplishments of 2022 listed below adhere to DCNR’s five strategic goals and reflect its seven strategic initiatives -- youth, recreation, forest conservation, climate, water, sustainability and diversity, equality and inclusion.
It remains my highest pleasure and honor to serve the commonwealth alongside the extremely dedicated and talented staff at DCNR.
compilation of DCNR’s accomplishments (PDF) during the eight years of the Wolf Administration is available on the DCNR website.
I am honored and humbled to be nominated by Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro to continue as DCNR Secretary and look forward to our future work conserving our natural places and growing our outdoor recreation opportunities and economy.
Best wishes to all for the New Year,
Cindy Adams Dunn
Secretary, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources