Pennsylvania is home to large swaths of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States, including 16.9 million acres of forest land, which comprises approximately 58 percent of the state’s total land area. Our extensive system of state parks (200,000 acres), state forests (2.2 million acres), and state game lands (1.5 million acres) creates a web of protected land that ensures that Pennsylvania’s natural beauty remains accessible to the public and will be preserved for generations to come.
Our public lands and waters also serve as habitat for diverse wildlife populations. Hemlock palustrine forests (named for the Pennsylvania state tree, the Eastern Hemlock), provide habitat to wild turkeys and Pennsylvania’s state bird – the ruffed grouse. Small, cold-water mountain streams provide an ideal home for Pennsylvania’s state fish, the brook trout. Fields and forests throughout the Commonwealth also support Pennsylvania’s state mammal, the white-tailed deer, and state insect, the firefly.
Sadly, your public lands are under attack. Many of our forests and game lands have been opened for extensive mineral development in order to balance government budgets. These development interests would prefer to open up even more land for exploitation, threatening to permanently alter the landscapes and recreational opportunities these resources provide to all Pennsylvanians.
PennFuture is fighting to protect Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and bountiful wildlife for current and future generations. Fossil fuel companies, commercial developers, and the state legislature are putting our public lands under constant threat of clear-cutting, industrial projects, and commercial construction. PennFuture is helping citizens organize and petition their government to protect our public lands from further exploitation. We are also working with local communities, municipalities, and legislative champions to keep Penn’s Woods whole.
- We are leading the fight to stop the state legislature from opening up state park lands to outrageous commercial development, like waterparks, office buildings, and amusement rides;
- We challenge permits that would allow industry and other development to threaten high quality streams and wetlands;
- We support local and regional governments and communities that choose to enact a moratorium on natural gas drilling in the absence of strong state and federal rules to protect environmental interests.
- We support enacting a severance tax on gas drilling to fund environmental protection programs that protect public lands, improve stream buffers, and mitigate water pollution.
- We challenge pipeline construction activities that fragment our forests, causing permanent loss of core forest ecosystems on which many migratory birds are dependent;
- We challenge state agencies to comply with their federal obligations to protect public recreational opportunities on our public lands;
- We defend and work to increase Pennsylvania’s protections for nature and wildlife, including fighting against legislative efforts to rollback protections for endangered and threatened species.
Get a detailed overview of the Forests of Pennsylvania
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Learn about the economic impact of Pennsylvania’s state parks
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Explore Pennsylvania’s Threatened and Endangered Species
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DCNR State Forest Management Plan
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