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Shapiro Administration Highlights Opportunities in Conservation Jobs in Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps as 2024 Season Begins

by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Governor Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget includes additional $5 million investment in program that creates conservation workforce pathways for young people, $8.5 million for trails.

On Wednesday, April 17, Shapiro Administration officials worked with members of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps on a project to improve the Joyce Kilmer Trail in Union County in Bald Eagle State Forest.

To improve public lands Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget builds on the success of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps with a $5 million investment in a regional effort to diversify and strengthen conservation career and workforce pathways for young people.

“The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps has a successful track record helping young adults develop the job skills needed to succeed in today’s economy,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Governor Shapiro believes now is the time to invest in Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy by expanding opportunities for skill development and paid work experience that will create economic opportunity and a ready workforce for conservation and recreation.”

Governor Shapiro also is supporting the outdoor recreation economy by proposing an $8.5 million additional investment in parks and forests that will make Pennsylvania a premier destination for exceptional trail experiences, benefiting the economic competitiveness of communities, tourism, and public health. 

The four-member crew of young people age 18-25 working at Bald Eagle is based in Williamsport.

This year, a total of about 200 young people will participate in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, a statewide workforce initiative to introduce people ages 15-25 to natural resource conservation and related jobs. It also teaches participants about public service and provides job skills to make them better employees.

Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps members in 2024 will work in more than 100 parks, forests, and communities across the state on projects including:

  • Trail work
  • Habitat enhancement
  • Improving park and forest assets such as buildings, drainage structures, and landscaped areas
  • Tree planting
  • Storm damage restoration
  • Inventorying trees planted in communities

In 2023 alone, the Outdoor Corps:

  • Improved 91 miles of trails
  • Planted 2,894 trees
  • Improved 512 acres of natural lands and wetlands
  • Improved 79,579 feet of shore and waterways
  • Provided a formative and rewarding experience for participants

The corps is managed by DCNR and the Student Conservation Association and is supported through funding provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as well as private philanthropic partners.

The Williamsport Outdoor Corps efforts for this week are focused on the Joyce Kilmer Trail, which is a hiking only trail that spans approximately three-quarters of a mile in Hartley Township, Union County. The team is working on renovating a footbridge that crosses Bear Run, ensuring safe passage for forest visitors.

This iconic trail serves as the gateway to the 77-acre Joyce Kilmer Natural Area, a sanctuary of old growth forest and pristine wilderness. Named in honor of the renowned poet Joyce Kilmer, this tranquil haven boasts a diverse array of flora and fauna, including towering hemlocks and majestic hardwoods.

Bald Eagle State Forest has more than 300 miles of hiking trails.

The Governor’s budget as proposed would enable DCNR to:

  • Design and construct new trails in parks and forests
  • Retrofit, widen, and otherwise improve existing trails
  • Prepare to respond to damage that currently cannot be quickly addressed when emergencies occur

Outdoor recreation adds $17 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, supporting 164,344 jobs, and accounting for 1.8 percent of the Commonwealth’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Governor Shapiro’s first budget resulted in the launch of the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps visit the DCNR website, the Student Conservation Association website, or watch a video. For more information on how the Governor’s proposed budget will create opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov.

The post Shapiro Administration Highlights Opportunities in Conservation Jobs in Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps as 2024 Season Begins appeared first on BCTV.


Source: bctv

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