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Don’t cut the Keystone fund

March 1, 2012

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is a land trust that works in partnership with the landowners and communities of the Upper Delaware River region to conserve our lands, waters, and our quality of life. We wish to express our grave concern over Governor Corbett’s budget decision to permanently remove funds for the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund.

Since its inception almost two decades ago, the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund has made a significant contribution to protecting our state parks, our scenic view sheds, wildlife habitats, and perhaps, most importantly, our vital sources of drinking water. The Keystone Fund has also supported the building of playgrounds and parks and supported the improvement of public facilities.

Through both Republican and Democratic administrations, the Keystone Fund has been a dedicated source of funding. The results of this funding are extremely popular with Pennsylvanians, who enjoy and depend upon the lands, waters, and facilities the Keystone Fund has protected and augmented.

The quality of life in our Upper Delaware River Region is directly reliant on the farms, forests and waters that support its important local economies, including ecotourism, agriculture and wood products industries. These local economies and the region’s unique beauty and environmental health rely upon assuring that state government wisely uses taxpayer funds to assure taxpayer priorities like healthy public parks, forestlands, thriving wildlife and clean water are protected.

We urge the governor and our representatives to remember that the clean water, healthy lands and public spaces upon which Pennsylvanians depend are not an option or a choice or a matter of year to year decisions—they are a continual necessity to the quality of life in our state. Zeroing out the Keystone Fund that has supported sound conservation priorities for almost two decades is not only shortsighted, it is unhealthy for Pennsylvanians and for the future our state.

Greg Belcamino
Delaware Highlands Conservancy
Hawley, PA