The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is soliciting public comment on the master plan to create the Catawissa Recreation Area in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, along with State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger, is asking the public to consider the plan that will give off-road enthusiasts a public place to ride.
“As we approach the opening of a new recreation area, it is critical that we receive public input to chart a course for off-highway recreation on these public lands,” Dunn said. “I thank our state forest staff for managing the acquisition and development of this property and I look forward to the results of the master plan project.”
Expected to open in summer 2023, the Catawissa Recreation Area is a 5,541-acre property being developed into a motorized recreation area in the Weiser State Forest in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties. DCNR is working with Larson Design Group and Markosky Engineering Group to develop the master plan for the recreation area.
To participate in the public comment period, visit the DCNR Master Plan website and click on the Poll tab or email [email protected] The poll will remain open until December 16th.
The Catawissa Recreation Area includes land that included the site of a former off-highway vehicle park, Paragon Adventure Park, which closed more than 10 years ago. State forest officials manage the land until planning is complete and a contractor assumes control of operations.
The project serves as a new model for using liquid fuel funds and restoration funds from the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conserve land while expanding opportunities for ATVs, dirt bikes, off-highway vehicles and other forms of recreation.
According to DCNR, over the past decade, Pennsylvania has seen a growing demand for motorized and OHV trail riding experiences. There are more than 278,000 ATVs with an active vehicle registration in the state.
“The Catawissa Recreation Area is a testament to DCNR’s commitment to providing outdoor recreation opportunities for all users,” Shultzabarger said. “With that in mind, we will remain positive stewards of these public lands and reassure the public that conservation is at the heart of this project as that is our agency’s mission.”
According to DCNR, the property has significant environmental value as a large contiguous wooded area with sensitive plant habitats, quality tributaries of Catawissa Creek and the presence of a stand of established hemlock. In addition to enhancing Pennsylvania’s motorized recreation, the new area will provide opportunities to manage natural resources, restore water quality and remediate abandoned mine areas in the region.
Visit the project’s HUB website for more information on volunteer opportunities in the Catawissa Recreation Area.