The Modern Era

The 1980s began with an economic downturn. To cut costs the PA Bureau of State Parks ended agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Curwinsville and Crooked Creek. This reduction created a hole in Maurice K. Goddard’s plan to have a state park within 25 miles of every resident of Pennsylvania.

The PA Bureau of State Parks entered a phase of internal improvement, making small upgrades to facilities, like adding modern cabins and growing the environmental education program.

Bikes and a kayak lean against a modern cabin at Canoe Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.

Through bond-issued Growing Greener in the 1990s the Bureau of State Parks began modernizing many of the oldest parks, replacing vault toilets with flush toilets, leveling campsites for recreational vehicles and changing facilities to match the expectations of modern visitors.

In the late 1990s, a retired forester gave land to the PA Bureau of state Parks (Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area), leading to the donation of two other conservations areas growing the bureau to 117 parks and 3 conservation areas.

A pavilion is near a forest and a scenic view at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area, Pennsylvania.

In the early part of the 21st century the bureau continued its program to modernize facilities and also expanded its education program to include recreational activities. In 2010 the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle opened, an 16-room inn with many green technologies.

People enjoy kayaking at Codorus State Park, Pennsylvania.

For 2009 - 2011 the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks was awarded the top honor for the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnershipwith the National Recreation and Park Association.

The future looks bright.

This logo inspired by a compass declares Pennsylvania as the best state park system.