Culver’s Conservation Corps Transfer Moves from House Committee

The first proposal sponsored by Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder), to protect a valuable work program for young adults and important community service projects, was unanimously reported out of the House Labor and Industry Committee on Thursday.


House Bill 1683 would transfer the administration of the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps (PCC) from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). By transferring it to another agency, it could be funded through revenues other than the state’s General Fund. At this point in time, no funding exists for the program in proposals for the 2011-12 state budget.


“The corps’ mission of conservation mirrors that of the DCNR, and as such, it simply makes good sense to bring the corps within the auspices of that agency,” Culver said. “The transfer simply helps ensure the viability and future of the program, which has proven to be very valuable to our Commonwealth.”


The corps is a statewide program that offers work experience, job training and educational opportunities to young people who complete conservation, recreation and historical preservation projects on the state’s public lands. Corps members are between the ages of 18 and 25, and they work in crews under the guidance of skilled, adult crew leaders.


Nearly 14,000 young people have served since the program began in 1984, with more than 1,000 completed projects, including work in every Pennsylvania county.


Accomplishments include the improvement of 107 miles of streams, 7,100 acres of wildlife habitat, and 23,000 acres of forest lands; the construction or renovation of 700 picnic areas, 721 cabins and lodges, and more than 10,100 miles of trails; the rehabilitation of 387 historical buildings; and the planting of more than one million seedlings and trees.


Culver said that DCNR already employs seasonal workers, similar to PCC crew leaders, and state parks and state forests are two of the primary beneficiaries of PCC projects.


“I would like thank Senator John Gordner, who has the companion bill in his chamber, and his staff for working on this project with me,” Culver said. “It is my hope that this legislation can move swiftly through the process and the transfer can occur within the coming year.”


The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration. If approved by the Senate and the governor, the transfer would occur in July 2012.


State Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver
108th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact:  Jennifer Keaton

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