Pennsylvania’s award-winning parks could be better if golf courses, hotels. inns, restaurants, amusement parks, water slides and other outdoor sports facilities were available inside the parks, according to two Republican state representatives who have introduced legislation that would open the tent flap to such development.
Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, has proposed amending the 1995 Conservation and Natural Resources Act to allow development of all of those recreational and lodging amenities, along with the establishment of a new politically appointed Public-Private State Park Partnership Board to propose and oversee development projects.
And Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver, introduced legislation Monday that would create the Arnold Palmer Trails Program to obtain a license for the use of the Latrobe golfer’s name and oversee construction of four in-park golf courses that reflect “the golf course design philosophy of Arnold Palmer.”
Mr. Ellis’ proposal, H.B. 2013, which was referred to the Committee on Tourism and Recreational Development Tuesday and could be rushed to a vote by the full house, drew strong opposition from environmental organizations, which said the park development proposals do not support the conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the parks and could usurp the professional judgement of park managers.
A letter to the house committee members sent Monday by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Nature Conservancy Pennsylvania Chapter, noted that the…