Coburn, Pennsylvania – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Assistant Secretary John Norbeck visited Bald Eagle State Forest in Center County today to highlight the need to rehabilitate the Coburn Pedestrian Bridge in across Penns Creek and draw attention to how using federal stimulus funds could address outdated facilities and public safety readiness across the state.
“Most Pennsylvanians who enjoy hunting and fishing enjoy these activities on public lands,” Norbeck said. “Maintaining critical infrastructure is key to providing safe recreational opportunities for our visitors, and the use of recovery funds is key to meeting the infrastructure needs of our state forests and parks across the Commonwealth.”
Norbeck noted that some of the best fisheries to be found in the state are found in the state’s forest lands, as they have some of the purest waters in the Commonwealth that support abundant aquatic life. Hunting is permitted on nearly all of the DCNR’s more than 2.2 million acres of state forest land.
“State Forests and State Parks are lined with wild trout streams, welcome anglers to hundreds of miles of stocked trout waters each year, are home to lakes with some of the major open-water fisheries hot waters of the Commonwealth and provide access to fantastic boating opportunities,” said Tim Schaeffer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “Across Pennsylvania, we work with our partners at DCNR to maintain and improve fish habitat, educate anglers and boaters, and promote public safety on these waters.”
Bald Eagle State Forest comprises 194,602 acres in six counties. It spans the high, sharp ridges of central Pennsylvania and features miles of pristine mountain streams and many stretches of old-growth forest.
The Coburn Pedestrian Bridge, also known as the Fisherman’s Path, is a very popular access point for fly fishers on Penns Creek. Years of heavy use and lack of repairs since 1970 have left the pedestrian bridge, built around 1880, stripped of its current state of unattached planks resting on rotting wooden railway ties. Repair costs are estimated at $548,445.
Other needs in Bald Eagle State Forest include a new building for the carpentry shop and snow preparation equipment, Stony Run Dam removal, and road and trail improvements.
Norbeck noted Governor Tom Wolf’s $1.7 billion plan Helping Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic requires $450 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars for conservation, recreation and preservation.
The DCNR has a documented need of more than $1.4 billion for the repair and improvement of infrastructure. Issues such as wear and tear, extreme weather conditions and the effects of climate change, as well as a high demand for outdoor recreation, require investments, which also integrate sustainable design and energy efficiency.
Pennsylvania made its last major injection of funds for conservation and outdoor recreation in 2005 with the Growing Greener II initiative, which has funded hundreds of trail projects, conserved thousands of acres of endangered spaces and opened and helped hundreds of water projects to reduce pollution and flooding. .
Statewide, outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry that directly supports 150,000 jobs.
DCNR manages 2.2 million acres of state forest land and 121 state parks and is responsible for conserving and maintaining Pennsylvania’s natural resources for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Find more information about Bald Eagle State Forest on the DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717.877.6315
# # #