Keeping the promise of Penn’s Woods
Pennsylvania’s natural resources have been a source of prosperity for generations, but 300 years of extraction and industrial use have left their mark on the land. From surface disturbance to mine drainage, the legacy of coal mining is one of displaced environmental, economic, and human costs throughout the Commonwealth and across Appalachia.
PEC’s Legacy Mineland Reforestation program seeks to repair the damage by restoring and replanting reclaimed mine sites with native trees that clean the air and water, stabilize the landscape, and provide critical wildlife habitat. And because woodlands act as a natural carbon sink, re-establishing healthy forests can help reduce Pennsylvania’s overall contribution to climate change. Since launching the program in 2016, PEC has planted more than 277 thousand seedlings across more than 350 acres of state forest and privately owned land.
Because a lifelong commitment to stewardship often begins with formative outdoor experiences, PEC works to create and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone. Through regional partnerships like the Circuit Trails Coalition and the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, and larger initiatives like the East Coast Greenway, we help to facilitate the planning, funding, and construction of trails and greenways that not only improve the quality of life for residents, but also generate new economic opportunities for their communities.
Through DCNR’s Conservation Landscapes initiative, we lead regionally-focused economic development efforts organized around conservation and the outdoor industry. PEC serves as external lead for the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape in southwestern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape in northeastern Pennsylvania, working to connect State Parks and Forests to communities, connect community programs to each other, and connect citizens and visitors to the region’s abundant habitat and outdoor recreation areas.
Especially now, amid a historic surge in outdoor recreation, PEC is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvania’s parks, trails, and public lands are adequately supported by the state and fully enjoyed by all Pennsylvanians.
Replacing abandoned mine lands with native woodlands
Completing 750 miles of trails across the nine-county region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
An annual celebration of off-road adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests
Promoting outdoor recreation and conservation-focused economic development in rural Pennsylvania
Fostering Community & Connectivity on NEPA Trails
This May, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) released NEPA Trails: Assessing Community and Connectivity in Northeastern PA, which focused on assessing the cycling “ecosystem” in
Pennsylvania Legacies #192: Moving the Needle on Conifers
Coniferous trees once figured prominently in the makeup of Penn’s Woods, but their populations never fully recovered from the deforestation of the nineteenth century. Now
Keeping NEPA Beautiful, From Sunup to Sundown
The Great American Clean Up is an annual initiative that brings thousands of Americans together to beautify and restore their communities. It is a massive
Find information, analysis, important dates, and status updates on pending state legislation and regulation related to outdoor recreation, reforestation, and land use.
Transforming abandoned strip mines into healthy native forest isn’t as easy as it sounds! Learn how PEC and our partners in the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) are restoring Penn’s woods, one legacy mining site at a time.