Lodges for parks a delicate state issueLodges for parks a delicate state issue
Sunday, March 13, 2005, By Bill Toland, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- There are still some true outdoorsmen, the kind who could survive a week in the woods armed with a folding knife and some matches. But they are greatly outnumbered by the semi-outdoorsmen, the kind who enjoy hiking or fishing or hunting, but at the end of the day prefer a soft bed and a nice meal to a sleeping bag and a tent.
That is why Pennsylvania is thinking of building overnight lodges at some of its state parks within the next few years. The new lodges may resemble what you can already find at ski resorts or larger national parks such as Yellowstone or Yosemite -- conference rooms, restaurants and residential suites equipped with television sets, kitchenettes and other modern amenities.
But in pursuing the lodges, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources must perform a delicate balancing act, drawing new classes of visitors without offending those who think parks ought to be largely kept in their natural condition....
Parks are a state issue. This is an area I am most qualified to ponder and lead.
My sister and her family resides in a state park at a county facility. It is much like a lodge. It is a youth hostil in a beautiful setting.
Programming in parks matter too.
Finally, I'm not certain that these parks should be building lodges with taxpayer money when the times are lean. Growing Greener matters too.