Established on July 1, 1995, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is charged with:
Maintaining and protecting 124 state parks
Managing 2.2 million acres of state forest land
Providing information on the state's ecological and geologic resources
Establishing community conservation partnerships with grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space, and natural areas.
DCNR’s mission is to conserve and sustain Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment.
As Pennsylvania’s leader and chief advocate for conservation and outdoor recreation, DCNR will inspire citizens to:
To conserve and maintain Pennsylvania’s public natural resources for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come, we will take intentional action to ensure DCNR lands are accessible to all, provide inclusive and equitable programs and services, and recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
Learn more about the
DCNR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (PDF).
DCNR Strategic Initiatives
DCNR’s core principles of
partnership, stewardship, and service demand that the department strive to expand partnerships with communities, organizations, and state agencies.
A great example of this work is the
Conservation Landscape regions -- where parks, forests, rivers, and trails attract community revitalization and economic development efforts.
Given the environmental, social, and conservation challenges Pennsylvania faces, DCNR has created six strategic initiatives that grow from and build on the core work our bureaus and staff perform every day. They are:
DCNR has five strategic goals that reflect work toward its strategic initiatives.
Learn about the progress made during 2022 for the following goals:
Creation of DCNR
DCNR was created by the
Conservation and Natural Resources Act -- Act 18 (PDF) -- when the former Department of Environmental Resources was split to form DCNR and the Department of Environmental Protection. Act 18 implements Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which reads:
"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all of the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
DCNR Secretary and Executive Staff
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn
Cindy Adams Dunn has served as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources since 2015.
She has served multiple positions in the agency under three governors during the last three decades.
During her tenure, Ms. Dunn has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices, and public land management. Under her leadership, the department:
Created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to connect youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment
Advanced water quality initiatives within the Chesapeake Bay and across the commonwealth through investments in conservation, buffer plantings, and restoration
Advanced mitigation and adaptation best practices related to climate change
Managed the highest visitation at state parks and forests
Received historical levels of funding to address the growing conservation and recreation needs of the commonwealth
Ms. Dunn’s non-profit conservation and advocacy roles include serving as the president and chief executive officer of PennFuture, state director of Audubon Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania coordinator for Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and as an environmental educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Past DCNR roles included serving as Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services from 2007-2013, where she led Conservation Landscape program and oversaw the grant program, which provides $30-$60 million annually for conservation and recreation throughout the commonwealth.
Other leadership posts include Director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and Director of the Office of Education, Communications, and Partnerships.
Ms. Dunn first joined DCNR in the mid-1990s as Director of Community Relations and Environmental Education.
Over the years, Ms. Dunn has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership in conservation including:
- Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award
- The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Frances E. Flanigan Environmental Leadership Award
- Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year
- Cumberland County Conservation District Conservationist of the Year
- The Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society Local Government Award
- Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award
- The National Wildlife Federation Women in History Award
- The Schuylkill River National Heritage Area Legacy Award
Ms. Dunn holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University.
She and her husband, Craig, reside in Cumberland County.
When not championing the efforts of DCNR, Ms. Dunn enjoys the natural and recreation resources DCNR works hard to protect and promote through hobbies that include birding, canoeing, fishing, and hiking.
Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry, John Norbeck
John Norbeck became DCNR Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry in August 2015. As deputy, he oversees operations of the bureaus of State Parks, Forestry, and Facility Design and Construction, and helps advance DCNR’s strategic initiatives.
Norbeck served as the director of the Bureau of State Parks from 2006-2012. During his tenure, the bureau was awarded the National Gold Medal for Best Managed State Park System in the country, 2009-2011.
Norbeck spearheaded outstanding infrastructure investments in the Pennsylvania Wilds, including the:
Served as the lead for the Lower Susquehanna Conservation Landscape
Increased public private partnerships from 100 to 145 over six years
Updated the agency's revenue enhancement program from $13 million to $21.5 million annually
Established a Green Parks Initiative resulting in reducing the bureau’s carbon footprint and increasing energy efficiencies throughout the agency
Prior to joining DCNR, Norbeck served nearly 30 years through the ranks as a state parks professional in Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State Forest and Park Service, including roles as regional manager, acting chief of field operations, park program manager, training manager, operations park manager, and park ranger.
For these career efforts in the two state park systems, in 2012 he was awarded the President’s Award from the National Association of State Parks Directors.
Norbeck also has served as the chief operating officer of PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy organization.
Deputy Secretary for Administration, Michael Walsh
Mike Walsh joined DCNR in June, 2015. His experience includes over two decades working in both the legislative and executive branches of state government and serving in appointed positions under three governors.
In his current role as Deputy Secretary for Administration at DCNR, Mike is responsible for the human resources, budget, and information technology operations of the agency.
Mike co-chairs the DCNR Sustainability Initiative, helping Pennsylvania’s conservation agency lead by example with innovative investments in renewable energy, EV and PHEV fleet vehicles, and statewide energy savings projects . His focus on protecting our natural resources spans his career.
During his five years as Deputy Secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Mike created the “Pathways to Green Schools” program that helped coordinate and promote energy efficiency, environmental education, and health and wellness programs in public and private schools.
Pennsylvania received national recognition by the US Department of Education for these efforts.
As Director of Policy for Senator Allen Kukovich, Mike focused on land-use planning and urban revitalization issues, and helped to launch the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County.
He received the first Founders Award from the organization in 2003.
Mike, a LEED Green Associate, is a graduate of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, and received a Master of Public Management degree from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University.
Chief Counsel, Audrey Feinman Miner
Audrey Feinman Miner was appointed Chief Counsel to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources during June 2015.
Prior to that appointment, Miner was senior counsel with the Department of Health, where she functioned as the Litigation Coordinator and provided advice to a variety of health program areas.
Miner also served as Assistant Counsel-in-Charge, Personnel Section, at PennDOT, during which Miner was primarily responsible for providing legal advice on labor and employment matters as well as working on a variety of high-profile issues concerning the vehicle emissions inspection program.
Miner was appointed to an air quality task force in order to oversee the legal aspects of PennDOT’s implementation of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990.
Miner received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her juris doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law, where she was on the Law Review.
Prior to joining the commonwealth, Miner was an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and clerked for the Honorable John A. MacPhail, Commonwealth Court.