America’s national parks are the nation’s most treasured places—where visitors can experience the best of America’s great outdoors, wildlife, history and culture. National parks are becoming increasingly popular. In 2009, overall visitorship was up by 4%, the highest level in nearly a decade.23 Two-thirds of national parks, including parks in nearly every state, saw an increase in visitors in 2009. However, even as more people are visiting parks, operating budgets for the majority of national parks are at risk of being cut. Nearly three-quarters of parks that saw an increase in visitorship last year face a budget cut in the next fiscal year.
When it comes to natural gas drilling, modern Pennsylvania has begun to mirror the coal rush of the 19th century. Pennsylvania sits upon the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve, which is believed to be one of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States. Nearly 60 percent of this natural gas is found within Pennsylvania’s state borders, deep under ground.
Pennsylvania has a rich natural heritage. Our Commonwealth is the home of rugged mountain forests, worldclass agricultural land, beautiful rivers and streams, and countless places of history and natural wonder. But much of Pennsylvania’s natural heritage is in peril—threatened by sprawling development, the Commonwealth’s legacy of mining and industrial pollution, and other challenges.