Sign-On Letter Delivered to General Assembly

Sign-On Letter Delivered to General Assembly

Print version available here

June 19, 2014

Dear Member of the General Assembly,

We, the undersigned business leaders, educators, elected officials, and organizations, strongly urge you to protect general and special fund sources in the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year budget for conservation, recreation, and preservation programs critical to the protection of our land, water and heritage.

We recognize the budget challenges currently facing the Commonwealth and ask for your leadership in addressing these challenges without sacrificing core programs that contribute so much to the economic health and overall well being of Pennsylvania communities.

We oppose cuts that reduce or eliminate General Fund appropriations to programs that protect our land, water, and heritage – like the Heritage Areas Program.

And while no specific proposals currently threaten the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, farmland preservation, and the historic preservation tax credit, we want to emphasize the importance of keeping intact these special funds and the investments they make for all Pennsylvania communities.

Now more than ever, Pennsylvania needs to strengthen its investment in local efforts to protect our open space, preserve our family farms, support parks and recreation, and preserve our historic and cultural sites.

Pennsylvania communities have had to endure significant cuts to several programs in the past. If we hope to make real progress in tackling the many environmental challenges facing Pennsylvania, now is the time to step up our commitment to programs that protect land and water.

Consider that:

  • The Commonwealth has 19,000 miles of rivers and streams that do not meet basic water quality standards.
  • More than 2,000 family farms remain on the statewide list for preservation.
  • Pennsylvania continues to lose more forest, wildlife habitat, farmland and other open spaces to development than we are able to preserve.
  • Abandoned mines still scar almost 220,000 acres across the Commonwealth and are the cause of more than 5,000 miles of dead streams.

The investments made by the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, farmland preservation, and historic preservation programs in conservation, recreation, and preservation are proven to bolster the economy. For example, a Trust for Public Land study on the Keystone Fund found that for every $1 invested in land and water conservation, $7 in natural goods and services is returned to the state of Pennsylvania.

Moreover, investments in parks and open space add billions of dollars to property values and help support Pennsylvania’s tourism and recreation industry.  A report by the Outdoor Industry Association indicates that outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania generates $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue and supports 219,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.

Lastly, polls show strong, consistent public support for programs that improve our quality of life, boost the economy and protect the environment throughout Pennsylvania. The Growing Greener Environment Stewardship Fund, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, which just passed its 20th anniversary, have enjoyed strong, support from voters, legislators and governors since the beginning.

A survey released June 3rd by Penn State found that more than 97.4 percent of Pennsylvanians surveyed think that state funds dedicated to protecting rivers and streams; conserving open space, forests, natural areas and wildlife habitats; providing parks and trails, and preserving farmland should continue to be used for these purposes. This figure represented strong bi-partisan support, and is up by five percentage points since 2012.

The survey also found that more than three-quarters of respondents – 82.6 percent – would support increasing state funds to address these issues, even if it would cost the average household $10 more annually. This figure is up from 77.7 percent in 2012.

The people of Pennsylvania clearly feel that these programs hold value and must not be diminished.

The General Assembly rightly rescued the Heritage Areas Program last year, and we urge you to restore this program and provide $3 million in funding for the program this year. It is a valuable program that creates jobs and brings business to the region, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenues.

We recognize the challenges ahead and look forward to working with you to ensure that funding for programs that protect our open space, preserve our family farms, support our parks and trails, and safeguard our historic treasures remains intact.

Thank you.

LeeAnn Murray, Assistant Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(717) 234-5550

Jane Sheffield, President
(814) 940-1922

Karen Martynick, Executive Director
Lancaster Farmland Trust
(717) 687-8484

Andrew Heath, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition
(717) 824-2281

Andy Loza, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(717) 230-8560

Mindy Crawford, Executive Director
Preservation Pennsylvania
(717) 234-2310



Doug Wendell, Director
Abington Parks & Recreation

David Swope, President
Adams County Trout Unlimited Chapter 323

Christopher J. Beichner, President & CEO
Allegheny Land Trust

George Kutskel, President
Allegheny Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Jane Sheffield, President
Allegheny Ridge Corp.

Bill Weller, President
Allegheny Valley Trails Association

Jim Baird, Mid Atlantic Director
American Farmland Trust

Liz Deardorff, Director
American Rivers

Mark Zakutansky, Mid-Atlantic Policy Manager
Appalachian Mountain Club

Karen Lutz, Regional Director
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Joseph Simon, Council President
Archbald Borough, Lackawanna County

Phil Wallis, Executive Director
Audubon Pennsylvania

 Jim Bonner, Executive Director
Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania

Timothy P. Ishman, Director
Beaver County Recreation & Tourism

John Spiegel, Secretary
Bedminster Regional Land Conservancy

Kristina M. DeSenze, Environmental Attorney
Berman & Asbel, LLP

Joe Stafford, Executive Director
Bicycle Access Council

Sarah Clark Stuart, Deputy Director & Chair
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia & Circuit Coalition

Randy Bitting, President
Bitting Recreation, Inc.

Janis Long
Blacklick Creek Watershed Association

Christopher Clouser, President
BluAcres, LLC

Sherri Evans-Stanton, Director
Brandywine Conservancy

James E. Jordan, Jr., Executive Director
Brandywine Valley Association

Delores J. Columbus, Executive Director
Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority

Patrick Kelley, Manager
Carnegie Carbons Ltd.

Susan Moon, Secretary & Treasurer
Casselman River Watershed Association, Inc.

Anna N. Yelk, Executive Director
Central Pennsylvania Conservancy

Ernie Shumbat, President
Central PA Sleds and Treads

Pete Schempf, President
Centre County Farmland Trust

LeeAnn Murray, Assistant Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Bryan Hutchinson, President
Chester Co. Citizens for Climate Protection

Aimee Erickson, Executive Director
Citizens Coal Council

Cindy Dunn, President & CEO
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future

Ken Kulak, Councilman
City of Monongahela

Jennifer Shuey, Executive Director
ClearWater Conservancy

Clifford David, President & CEO
Conservation Economics

Christopher Clouser, Director of Technical Services
Conservation Lands, LLC

Scott Douglas, President
Cooks Creek Watershed Association

Debra Frawley, Coordinator
Council on Greenways & Trails

Robert Hopkins, Chair
Crawford County Agricultural Land Preservation Board

Christine Lauriello, President
Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club

Elissa M. Garofalo, President & Executive Director
Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc.

Brian Winslow, Executive Director
The Delaware Nature Society

Daniel Germain, President
DDP Minerals, Inc.

Paul Battaglini, President
East Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners

Robert E. Hughes, Executive Director
Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Sara Jane Elk, President & CEO
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

B. Scott Fiegel, Director
Ecological Associates, LLC

W. Anthony Riley, M.D., President
Eden Hill Conservancy

Peter Haentjens

Frank Oliver, President
Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Inc.

Cindy Rogers, President
Evergreen Conservancy

Sean P. Kenny, Executive Director
Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County

Heather D. Fowler, Watershed Coordinator
Fayette County Conservation District

Christine A. Buckelew, President
Fayette County Historical Society

Valerie Lambert, President
Five Star Trail

Dennis Stagle, President
Fredericktown Area Chamber of Commerce

Pam Brown, Conservation Director
French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

Phillip Swank, President
French Azilum, Inc.

Beth Reseter, Treasurer
Friendship Hill Association

Dwight Washabaugh, President
Fulton County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Paul Garrett

Bradley Eisiminger, Chairman
Greene County Conservation District

Terri Davin, President
Greene County Watershed Alliance

Barry Lewis, Executive Director
GreenTreks Network

Jason C. Robinson, President
Harrisburg River Rescue and Emergency Services

Andy Patterson, Director Manager
Huntingdon County Conservation District

Victoria E. Michaels, Executive Director
Independence Conservancy

Jeri E. Stumpf, President
Jeri E. Stumpf & Associates, Inc.

Laura Jackson, President
Stan Kotala, Conservation Chair
Juniata Valley Audubon Society

Fran Calpin, Sr. Director of College Relations
Keystone College

Alan Laick, Owner
Laick Design

Tom Fuhrman, President
Lake Erie Region Conservancy

Craig Lehman, Commissioner
Lancaster County

Gene Garber, Chair
Lancaster County Agricultural Preserve Board

Mike Burcin, CEO/COO
Lancaster County Conservancy

Karen Martynick, Executive Director
Lancaster Farmland Trust

Gwendolyn Lacy, Esq., Executive Director
Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County

Norma L. Calhoun, President
Land Conservancy of Adams County

Ronald W. Virag, President & CEO
Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau

Natalie Gelb, Executive Director
Lackawanna Heritage Valley National & State Heritage Areas

Jo Ellen Litz, Commissioner
Lebanon County

Angie Foltz, Program Specialist
Lebanon County Agricultural Land Preservation Board

Stephanie Harmon, Water Specialist
Lebanon County Conservation District

Pat Krebs, President
Lebanon Valley Bicycle Coalition

Sheila Wartluft, Board President
The Lebanon Valley Conservancy, Inc.

Christine Tomsey, Board Member
Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor

Olga Herbert, Executive Director
Christine Tomsey, Board Member
Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor

Bill Anderson, President
Little Juniata River Association

Susan Huba, Executive Director
Loyalhanna Watershed Association 

Robert W. Genter, Director
Mackin Engineering Company

Sally Zaino, Director of Preservation
The Manada Conservancy

Heather Cuyler Jerry, Director
Marshall Township Parks & Recreation

Pat McInerney, President
Martins-Jacoby Watershed Association

Cathy McCollom, Principal
McCollom Development Strategies LLC 

Michele Adams, PE President
Meliora Design

Geoff Goodenow, Coordinator
Merrill Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy

Jay Salyers, Senior V.P.

Dulcie Flaharty, Executive Director
Montgomery County Lands Trust

Trevor S. Finn, Commissioner
John J. Gerst, Commissioner
Jerry R. Ward, Commissioner
Montour County

Evelyn Koppel
The Mount Gretna Bird Club

John Hook, President
Mount Nittany Conservancy

Cassandra Vivian
Mount Pleasant Glass Museum

Beverly Braverman, Executive Director
Mountain Watershed Association

Donna Holdorf, Executive Director
National Road Heritage Corridor

Molly Morrison, President
Natural Lands Trust

Melinda Hughes-Wert, President
Nature Abounds

Margaret McCarvill, Board President
Neighborhood Gardens Trust

Bill Moul, President
North Area Environmental Council

Joy Knapp, Co-Chair
Steve Porter, Co-Chair
Northwest Pennsylvania Green Economy Task Force

John R. Phillips, II, President and CEO
Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism

Molly Duffy, Esq.
Open Land Conservancy of Chester County

Christina Voorhees, President
PA Chapter of the Wildlife Society

David Masur, Director

Andrea Ferich, Executive Director
Penns Valley Conservation Association

Edward J, McCrea, President
Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators

Rev. Sandra Strauss, Director of Public Advocacy
Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Brian Wagner, President
Pennsylvania Council Trout Unlimited 

Davitt Woodwell, Executive Vice President
Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Matt Knepper, President
Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association

Larry Williamson, Chairman
Andrew Heath, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition

Andy Loza, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Stan Stubbe, President
Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council

Marci Mowery, President
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation

Karen Burke, Executive Director
Doug Knauss, Government Affairs Chair
Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society 

Elizabeth Krug, Board President
Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association

Scott R. Becker, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

David J. Robertson, Ph.D., Executive Director
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust

Norene Halvonik, Treasurer
The Perryopolis Parks & Recreation Authority

Lauren Bornfriend, Executive Director
Philadelphia Parks Alliance

Ingrid E. Morning, President
Pine Creek Valley Watershed Association, Inc.

Meg Cheever, President & CEO
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Dawn Gorham, Executive Director
Pocono Heritage Land Trust

Carl Ables, Mayor
Patrick Kelley, Borough Council
Point Marion Borough

Victoria Evans, Chairwoman
Point Marion Parks Commission

Larry Reseter, Treasurer
Point Marion Rotary

Caroline E. Boyce, Executive Director
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Mindy Crawford, Executive Director
Preservation Pennsylvania

Sharon Martin, Executive Director
Radnor Conservancy

Deb McNamara, Program Manager
Rail-Trail Council of NEPA

Daniel T. Visnauskas, President
Real Estate Recovery Services, Inc.

James E. Jordan, Jr., Executive Director
Red Clay Valley Association

Leslie Pierce, Manager
Regional Trail Corporation

Patrick Kelley, Manager
Resource Land Group, LLC

Barb Jarmoska, Treasurer
Responsible Drilling Alliance

Augie Carlino, President & CEO
Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation

Emily Buka, Executive Director
Riverside Center for Innovation

John Makosky, President
Scagburners Snowmobile Club in Central Pa

Linda Stephens, Secretary & Treasurer
Schuylkill County Conservancy

Kurt D. Zwikl, Executive Director
Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area

Linda S. Sieber, Chair
Shermans Creek Conservation Association, Inc.

Todd A. Zeigler, Manager
Shrewsbury Township, York County

Kristy A. Owens, Manager
Silver Spring Township Parks & Recreation

Robert Merrill, Chair
Society of American Foresters, PA Division

James Moses, President
Somerset County Conservancy

Ellie Hyde, Chair
The South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Coalition

Richard Terry, President
Southeast Montgomery County Trout Unlimited

Ed Lawver, Secretary & Treasurer
Southern Potter Snowmobile Club

Lisa Minardi, President
The Speaker’s House

Judi Sittler, Chair
Spring Creek Watershed Association

Mark N. Platts, President
Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area

Trish Carothers, Executive Director
Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

Court Gould, Executive Director
Sustainable Pittsburgh

Ron Ramsey, Sr. Policy Advisor
The Nature Conservancy, PA Chapter

Karen Budd, Trustee
Jim Engel, Executive Director
Tinicum Conservancy

Ed Camelli, President
Trail Creek Outfitters

Mary Schorse, Managing Director
The Tropical Re-Leaf Foundation

Anthony Cucchi, PA/NJ State Director
The Trust for Public Land

April L. Temple, Executive Director
The Trust for Tomorrow

Thomas D. Saunders, President & CEO
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Ron Rohall, Board of Directors Chairman
Westmoreland Conservation District

Ted Kopas, Commissioner
Westmoreland County

Christopher Kocher, President
Wildlands Conservancy

Jeanne B. Van Alen, Executive Director
Willistown Conservation Trust

Christopher Reilly, Commissioner
York County

Carl Knoch, Chairman
York County Rail Trail Authority

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