Our mission: To inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

The rain is falling with some enthusiasm this morning in Confluence - once again. Fridays is a little late again today and you have my apologies. Time just seems to get away from me these days. I know. You've heard it before!

Earlier this month, the Harrisburg Patriot-News featured a story from our friend Marcus Schneck about the native frog and toad species in Pennsylvania. They at least must be delighted with this summer's seemingly endless rain. I had a close encounter with one of the little amphibs earlier this week while walking neighbor Wendy's lovely dog Sander. We were heading down by the Casselman River for a little swim (Sander, not me) when we startled a toad sunning himself on the pavement. The poor thing must have been in a sound sleep and we didn't notice him at all until he leaped straight into the air and kind of jumped and tumbled all in disarray into the tall grass. I don't think I've ever seen one move quite that quickly - or gracelessly!

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator

Action alert and news of note


Thursday afternoon saw the Pennsylvania Senate come up with their "solution" to Pennsylvania's budget situation. And it is a doozy. The good news? Your voices WERE heard and the restricted environmental funds were left untouched. But, somehow, environmental regulation and the power of the DEP to do its job got all tangled up in a revenue bill.

So here's an overview - and your (now seemingly weekly) Action Alert:

Beyond raising revenues, the legislation severely weakens environmental oversight and ties the hands of the Department of Environmental Protection. It:

  • Establishes a new, legislatively-appointed review board that has sole authority to disallow air permitting controls for the unconventional gas industry. This provision provides special treatment for one particular industry with respect to environmental law and regulation.
  • Mandates third party review and approval of environmental permits. In more direct terms, it effectively cedes a primary component of the state’s responsibility to protect public health and the environment to private interests. There are no provisions made as to assuring the qualifications of these private interests, ensuring the right for public comment, or protecting against self-dealing.

Another major problem with the legislation is that while it calls for a severance tax on the natural gas industry, none of the revenue generated is allocated to conservation, restoration and preservation programs like Growing Greener. All the revenue disappears into the black hole of the General Fund.

Over the past seven years, nearly every severance tax legislation introduced included funding for environmental programs. Why the Senate chose to completely ignore this critically important component - while throwing environmental protection to the wind - leaves all of us users and supporters of environmental protection scratching our heads. So, what should you do NOW?

  1. Let the Senate know that you are IRATE they passed legislation that kills environmental oversight - human and environmental health should not be a bargaining chip.
  2. Contact the Administration and urge the Governor to oppose the changes to environmental oversight and implore them to support 25% of the severance tax going to the Environmental Stewardship Fund for Growing Greener III.
  3. Call and email your House members and urge them to stand-up for Pennsylvania families and communities by opposing the proposed changes to environmental oversight. Encourage them to demand that 25% of the severance tax be allocated to the Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Thank you for your continued vigilance. There is a distinct and indistinguishable connection between healthy air, water, and land and the beauty and recreational opportunities of the public lands we love.

In other, more positive, news - our western Pennsylvania friends (and beyond) are invited to come to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County beginning on Monday, August 14 to see the Photo Gallery Showcase, the winners of last year's photo contest. We'll begin with an opening night reception that Monday evening at 5:30 pm. All of the winning photographers have been invited to attend and it should be lots of fun and you may feel inspired to enter this year's contest which is open for entries now through Labor Day.

The Pocono Record (and the Friends of Big Pocono) provide a lovely video of a sunny morning on top o' the mountain for your viewing enjoyment.

Finally, a lovely and informative Facebook post by Kirsten Dorshimer tells the tale of the Goat Hill Serpentine Barrens of the William Penn State Forest (home of the Friends of the State Line Serpentine Barrens). This week's masthead features Appalachian ragwort by photographer George Gress.

At work and play in the parks and forests


There's an ... interesting ... forecast for this last weekend of July. 

Festivals in the Spotlight

A festival of a different kind takes the spotlight this week - Celebrate the Bloom at Pennsylvania's prairie tomorrow. Jennings Environmental Education Center and their neighborhood partners have a full day of programs on the signficance of a prairie ecosystem.


Everyone loves music in the outdoors and Cherry Springs has a great offering on Sunday evening under the stars with the Endless Mountains Brass Quintet. Registration is REQUIRED (and will garner you the rain location in the event precipitation alters participation).


Linn Run State Park is a lovely place to spend a day - or evening. Try a Saturdays at Linn Run hike this weekend and see Flat Rock and Adams Falls.


The Delta Waterfowl Retriever Group will be at Frances Slocum State Park tomorrow morning with a demonstration of skilled black labs doing what they do. 


The hard-working volunteers who make up the LMVG (or Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group) for the Forbes State Forest will be out tomorrow morning for a work day that leaves bright and early from the Route 31 Pole Building

No matter what region of the commonwealth you want to visit, our website Events and the DCNR Calendar of Events are great sources for things to see and do. Bookmark them!

Picture of the week


Congratulations to Fort Washington State Park, celebrating 100 YEARS as a Pennsylvania state park last Tuesday. Plan a trip there come September and October for migration watching!

Take five for trivia


Kudos to the identifiers of the "jellyfish-like thing" we saw in the lake at Pymatuning last week. The "blobs" indeed are freshwater bryozoans. As explained by the good people of Pymatuning on their Facebook post: Bryozoan are a colony of microscopic invertebrates also known as "moss animals". They are a sign of good water quality and nope, they do not sting.

Good to know!

There is good trivia "out there" and I am cribbing this one, too. (Perhaps part of the contest for this last go in July is to find where I lift it!): While visiting this park, you can see the Delaware River rise or fall an inch a minute for an overall change of seven feet between tides. When the tide comes in at a New Jersey beach, the water rises here also. Because tides affect this part of the river, it is called an estuary. So what park is it?

Send in your answer and we'll enter your correct response into our monthly prize drawing. All correct answers each week will go into the hat and at the end of the month we'll draw one lucky winner. The more correct answers you submit in a month (up to four or the occasional five depending on the month), the more chances you'll have to win.

In closing

Serpentinite from the Goat Hill Serpentine Barrens. See Pennsylvania Forestry Facebook post.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of PPFF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free within Pennsylvania, to 800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare and is a Gold GuideStar Participant.


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