Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: cheering for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pitt
Any list of targeted state parks is kept from public
By ROSCOE BARNES III Staff writer
Is Caledonia State Park or any of the other four state parks in Franklin County on a closure list?
State officials deny there is a list, yet an unknown number of Pennsylvania state parks have been contacted already this week about the possibility of being closed because of budget cuts this year by the state Senate.
Chris Novak, spokesperson for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said last week that there was "no list so far" of the parks that might be closed, but that one was being developed.
On Tuesday, Novak said a list was being developed that will be incorporated with a response to a letter from state Sen. Mary Jo White. A Republican, White serves the 21st Senatorial District. encompassing Clarion, Forest and Venango counties and parts of Butler, Erie and Warren counties.
When asked by Public Opinion about parks being contacted, Novak said: "We are doing some internal notifications."
Details of any list that outlines what parks will close if the House agrees to the same version of the budget will not be released to the general public until White has had a chance to review it, Novak said.
One of the things the state will look at is the number of visitors a park receives each year. That will not be the only factor in the decision whether to close or not close, Novak said.
Other matters of concern will be salary and budget issues, staffing, and the cost to operate the parks. The parks with the most visitors would likely be safe, Novak said. Other factors would come into play in the final decision, she said.
In terms of numbers, Caledonia State Park saw a total of 273,891 visitors in 2008, Cowans Gap had 42,402, and Mont Alto had 24,806, according to the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks Annual Attendance Report for 2008 - Region 3.
Some of the top parks had more than a million visitors last year. They include Presque Isle: 3,700,817; Pymatuning: 3,063,606; Moraine: 1,289,499; Ohiopyle: 1,276,589; Tyler: 1,100,900; Codorus: 1,174,508; Prince Gallitzin: 1,364,369.
Those with the least number of visitors are U. Pine Bottom: 1,085; Poe Valley: 1,523; and McCall's Dam: 2,446.