HARRISBURG, Pa., March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Visitors to state parks this upcoming summer season will find more swimming beaches designated as "smoke free" at the 121 state parks across the state, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced today.
Responding to visitor requests and support, DCNR is implementing smoking controls at 16 new swimming beaches with their traditional Memorial Day opening, May 29. The pilot "smoke free" program has expanded this year to include 39 of 54 swimming beaches across Pennsylvania.
New state park "Smoke-Free Beaches" will be established this season at: Bald Eagle, Centre County; Beltzville, Carbon County; Chapman, Warren County; Canoe Creek, Blair County; Greenwood Furnace, Huntingdon County; Hickory Run, Luzerne County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; Moraine (Lakeview Beach), Butler County; Ole Bull, Potter County; Poe Valley, Centre County; Prince Gallitzin (Muskrat Beach), Cambria County; Pymatuning, (Jamestown Campground and Linesville beaches), Crawford County; Promised Land (Main Beach), Pike County; Tobyhanna, Monroe County; and Tuscarora, Schuylkill County.
"This expansion is directly in line with the state parks' primary mission -- provide opportunities for enjoying healthful outdoor recreation and serve as outdoor classrooms for environmental education," Dunn said. "It was an ongoing bid to gauge the pulse of the public that led our Bureau of State Parks to expand its 'Smoke-Free Beach' locations. From the outset of this program in May 2013 beach restrictions consistently have been hailed by visitors for significantly improving air quality and reducing cigarette-butt litter.
"Success of our initial goals, as well as feedback from park visitors across the state, encouraged us to again expand the 'Smoke-Free Beach' areas this season."
In 2016, 12 state parks initiated new "Smoke Free Beaches." They were: Hills Creek, Tioga County; Lyman Run, Potter County; R.B. Winter, Union; Presque Isle, Erie; Pymatuning, Crawford, Laurel Hill, Somerset County; Whipple Dam, Huntingdon County; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Cowans Gap, Fulton County; Gouldsboro, Monroe County; Ricketts Glen, Luzerne County; and Worlds End, Sullivan.
Surveys, feedback to park managerial staff, and reservation information all played a key role in the department's decision to continue expanding smoking restrictions.
Smoking constraints at designated parks eliminate smoking on beaches and swimming areas. For visitors who smoke and still want to use these beaches, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided.
The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars and the increasingly popular e-cigarettes. Staff at newly affected parks have been preparing for the change by purchasing and installing butt disposal units; installing new signage; establishing designated smoking areas with seating; and informing park user and support groups.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources