Monday, March 14, 2011


Custodianship by the Lebanon County Commissioners and Sico Foundation

  • How are these positions selected/elected? are there term limits? research bylaws please...
  • The board has received estimated $500,000 in public tax dollars through PA growing greener grants over the last decade. How have PA taxpayers benefited from that?
  • Public access to details of where and how that money was used?
  • Has there been an audit of their budget and where is this recorded?
  • Does the park utilizes our local police patrol, as well as our fire and safety departments?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free the Trails!

The park at Governor Dick

Mt. Gretna, PA

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the tract of land above described with the appurtenances IN TRUST forever as a playground and public park…. From page 3 of The Deed signed by Clarence Schock

Bicycles in this Park are like the playground equipment at a school playground. They are the tool of recreating in this natural forest environment of playful trails....

The board has recently adopted a forest stewardship plan. Part of that plan was, on 1-1-2010, the restricting of 3 miles of existing key trails in the park to "foot travel only". The "compromise" was the board allowing the mountain bike club (SAMBA) to construct the 2.8mi. trail 15. The "foot travel only" restrictions implemented 1-1-2010 on trails 12, 13, and 14 were strongly opposed by even the parks trail support committee. Even though the sign reads “THE 2007 GOVERNOR DICK TRAIL SUPPORT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION…”, that the committee that was involved was forced into agreeing to the closures only on threat of losing all trail access to biking."

These trail restrictions were NOT a result of user conflict, I personally asked this question to the board a few years back if this was their reason. I believed at the time these new trail restrictions WOULD LEAD TO user conflict however, as equestrians and bicycle riders would be, and are now, forced to ride illegally or confine themselves to the severely limited trail system through the park.

Leading into spring 2011, a new problem has surfaced as a result of the trail restrictions, and that is severe damage to the tread by equestrian usage on wet trails, specifically on the shared use portion of trail 13. This problem could be greatly helped by allowing multi-use access to the adjacent trails, like 12, 13, and 14 that drain better and could spread out the impact of user groups. This writer, speaking on behalf of the public and the park users, demand that the untenable trail restrictions be revised or removed completely.

The trustees of the board cannot go forward with a policy that effectively puts vast areas of this park "off limits" by not allowing additional trail systems to be put in. While “off trail” areas are not “off limits”, the environmental impact of park users going off trail is not a desired way to use the park. Off-trail hiking and biking is an invasive and harmful activity to the native flora and fauna and disrupts natural habitats of small animals.

  • Trails provide the conduit for people to recreate and visit this park. Trails should be made around and through all the natural wonders, geologic features, boulders, rock outcroppings, and historical areas of the park. They should cover enough of the property that people will not need to go off trail, but that they will be able to explore new areas of the park, learning to navigate another interesting trail over several visits here.

  • Trails are the physical connection between the park and the people, and are the most important thing about this park. Clarence Schock left this land a place to be preserved in its natural state for public recreation and enjoyment. The board can no longer exist in a state of denial about this fact, and they will not inflict a state of fear in us with there threats of having a judge interpret the deed to banning bikes. The board has been installed to manage the park for the good of the public, therefore if the public petitions the board for more trails, it cannot be denied.


My intention is to present the many positive benefits of adding additional trails in the park. Expanding the trail system in the park that would provide the public access to previously unseen areas of the park, areas that are awe inspiring and geologically fascinating. This means re-opening and expanding the shared-use (hike and bike) trail system. This trail expansion is what the public wants and needs, and the deed of the land specifically sites public recreation in this natural environment as a primary objective of the trust.

Economic Impact:

The park at Governor Dick can not be looked at as an isolated entity, instead it must be viewed with all the connections to the physical, economic and social connections it has to the surrounding communities, businesses, and park users. All of which would benefit from an expanded shared-use singletrack trail network.

Trails mean Sales!
  • See the example with projected revenue from the Raystown trail system.
  • Local businesses, including Bike shops and other retail, restaurants, and lodging all benefit from those traveling to the Mt. Gretna area to recreate on these trails
  • Tourism is a leading industry in PA

The economic impact of visitor spending in Pennsylvania in 2009 was significant:

Total Visitor Spending was $31.1 billion

  • Leisure Travers - $26 billion
  • Business Travelers - $5 billion

Total Economic Impact - $32.9 billion

Total Jobs Supported - 433,000

  • Total Direct Jobs - 283,000

State & Local Tax Revenues - $3.4 billion tourism equals

The more mile of trails in one area, the bigger the geographic radius people will travel from, especially for trail bicyclists who may cover dozens of miles of trail in an outing.

(all this and we didn't even get to the impact outdoor vigorous exercise has on our health, the obesity epidemic, and other issues related...all of which would benefit from more trails!)

It is not only mountain bikers who want and need more trails! These trails are would be used by trail runners, hiking clubs, bouldering enthusiasts, geocachers, orienteering groups, bird watchers, etc.

Allegrippis Trails - Raystown Lake

Economic Impact Projections

· The trail will make Raystown Lake a year-round destination by expanding the lake’s recreation season from the summer months only to the other three seasons.

· We expect to attract an additional 9,800 additional visitors each year.

Ø 77% will be day trippers

Ø 23% will be multiple day guests

· The additional visitors are expected to bring an additional $1,254,188 per year to Huntingdon County.

· Day Trippers are expected to spend an average of $98.00 per trip including:

Ø $29 on food & drinks

Ø $38 on transportation

Ø $14 on recreation and entertainment

Ø $17 on souvenirs

· Overnight Guests are expected to spend an average of $227 per trip including

Ø $55 on food & drinks

Ø $57 on transportation

Ø $19 on recreation and entertainment

Ø $17 on souvenirs

Ø $79 on lodging

Source: IMPLAN Economic modeling based on data collected by the Outdoor Industry Foundation and Allegheny Great Passage Economic Impact Study

Mountain Biking

Economic Impact Facts

· 1 in 5 Americans 16 years old and older mountainbike

· Like camping and fishing, cycling is an activity that strongly affects a kid’s decision to become active in outdoor recreation.

· There are 50 million mountain bikers in America, 1 1/3 times the population of Canada.

· Sports/Adventure tourism is the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry and mountain biking is one of the topped ranked adventure activities.

Source: 2008 Economic Benefits of Mountain Biking Commissioned by Shimano & IMBA.

· More Americans owe their job to bicycle based recreation than there are people employed as lawyers.

· The Middle Atlantic Bicycling Recreation Economy including NY, NJ & PA

Ø Contributes $4.8 billion to the regional economy annually

Ø Support 44,000 jobs

Ø Generates more than $623 million in annual sales and federal tax revenue

Ø Produces nearly $3.8 billion annually in retail sales and services

Ø $677 million in bicycling gear and services

o $3.1 billion in bicycling trip related expenses.

o More than 8 million bicyclists or 26% of the adult population

Soure: The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy produced by Outdoor Industry Foundation 2006.

Profile of a Mountain Biker

· 86% are male

· 69% are between the ages of 20 and 39

· 50% have household incomes of $75,000+

· 35% are married with children

· 31% are married without children

· 34% are single

· 50% consider themselves advanced or intermediate riders

· 70% have post secondary degrees

· 33% belong to a bicycle club

· 60% own a bike that is valued between $1,000 and $3,000

41% stay overnight when they travel to mountain bike

· 59% are day trippers

Sources: Travel Patterns of Destination Mountain Bikers 2003

Michigan Mountain Bike Association/ Central Michigan University 2001-2002

Universty of Wisconsin Mountina Bike Study 1999