A state Senate proposal is to make deeper cuts into the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funds, an insult to injury after Governor Rendell's budget cuts earlier this year. If the plan is enacted, the additional $19 million in fund withdrawal from the DCNR is devastating enough to close 35 of 117 state parks. DCNR Spokeswoman Chris Novak says this was not a loss they had been expecting, unlike Governor Rendell's belt tightening. She says those adjustments were maybe taking a pavilion out of service or cutting the grass less often, but such an enormous loss cannot go without dire consequences. It is estimated that nearly 3 million visitors would be turned away and $57 million in locally-generated revenue would be lost.
"We would really significantly reduce access at a time when families who can't afford to take a vacation because of the tough economy could count on a little rest and relaxation at a nearby state park or forest," Novak says.