Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Budget Hearing Wrap
Acting Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Dunn, along with Michael Walsh, Deputy Secretary for Administration, John Norbeck, Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry, and Lauren Imgrund, Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services. House Republicans focused on the fiscal health of DCNR and how to make the department sustainable. Additionally, Republicans asked questions covering the expansion of ATV trails in state parks, what the department is doing to address and prioritize its $1.4 billion maintenance backlog, drilling on state lands, the state of the timber industry, and how DCNR is partnering with private industry.

Key Takeaways

· DCNR needs to use its natural resources and assets to become a revenue generator. The Department could be raising revenues by:

o Expanding drilling on state own lands.

o Fully utilizing sustainable timber sales.

o Charging for use of electric vehicle charging stations.

o Partnering with private industry for amenities.

o Reviewing fee structures.

· Infrastructure remains a major problem for DCNR, House Republicans believe this should be prioritized before opening more state parks.

· The Office of Outdoor Recreation should be working with private industry to increase the use and revenues of our state parks.

Notable Q&A

Rep. Eric Nelson asks the DCNR Secretary to expand non-surface impact drilling on state lands to raise revenues.

Rep. Torren Ecker asks if Gov. Shapiro plans on continuing Gov. Wolf’s new lease moratorium for drilling on state lands and why certain drilling is exempt from this.

Rep. Natalie Mihalek questions how the DCNR Office of Outdoor Recreation will be working with private industry.

Watch full hearing