Published: Saturday, October 01, 2011
BY JOHN CHILDE
Our park system is integral to our economic well-being and our quality of life. More than half of our state parks are within the Marcellus Shale gas zone, 61 out of 117 parks. Some of our most pristine and popular parks are underlain by Marcellus Shale gas. These include Ohiopyle and Ryerson Station in the Southwest Region, Pymatuning and Presque Isle in the Northwest Region, Black Moshanon and Kettle Creek in the Central region, Little Pine, Worlds End and Ricketts Glen in the Northcentral Region, and Hickory Run and Promised Land in the Northeast.
Unlike our state forest system, we do not own the mineral rights under 80 percent of our state parks. This is because when we purchased the park lands the mineral rights were already sold or were what seemed at the time prohibitively expensive. Under Pennsylvania law, mineral rights owners have the right to use the surface of the land to develop their minerals without needing the approval of the surface owners. This includes the Bureau of State Parks.
Once again, we bring Teddy Roosevelt back to provide feedback and speak on behalf of State Parks.