Gov. Shapiro Announces $52.5 Million for Recreation and Conservation Projects Across PA.

A view down the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania's Ohiopyle State Park shows fall seasonal color in the trees. The water appears milky and glassy due to a long exposure technique. The Youghiogheny River is 134 miles long and is a tributary of the Monongahela River.

By Sean Kitchen

October 6, 2023

The funding will help support over 225 local recreation and conservation projects across Pennsylvania.

Gov. Josh Shapiro and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Dunn announced in Bethlehem on Tuesday $52.5 million for over 225 local recreation and conservation projects across the commonwealth.

The funds will help protect over 6,800 acres of open space and include 23 trail projects, 13 river conservation projects and 99 projects to develop or rehabilitate recreation, park and conservation areas and DCNR facilities.

“These projects will fund critical improvements to local parks, river access and trails across the Commonwealth, which will bring outdoor recreation amenities closer to home and improve access in our communities,” Dunn said in a statement.

DCNR is responsible for watching over Pennsylvania’s 124 state parks that attract 40 million visitors a year. The agency received a $112 million boost in funding for the 2023-2024 budget to improve the quality of the state’s parks and forests.

It also included $2.8 million to create the Office of Outdoor Recreation. The office aims to find ways to bring state government and private businesses together and help grow Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy, which adds $14 billion a year to the state’s economy and employs 150,000 people.

The grants for the announced projects will be administered by the DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2).

Shapiro and Dunn were in Bethlehem to highlight a $500,000 grant that will help with land acquisition to connect the South Bethlehem Greenway to the Saucon Rail Trail.

According to a press release, the connection would create 14 miles of contiguous trail in the region and close one of the state’s Top 10 Trail Gaps, while also improving a robust trail network in the Lehigh Valley.

“Trails boost quality of life, and the role trails play as connectors is key in increasing Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness. I thank the City of Bethlehem for prioritizing access to trails and being an example that investing in trails is key in spurring revitalization efforts and economic growth in our communities,” Dunn said.



  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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