DCNR Announces Climate and Sustainability Plan Will Take Presque Isle State Park to Net Zero

Presque Isle State Park

ERIE, PA — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that the Climate and Sustainability Plan for Presque Isle State Park, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary, will take the park to net-zero energy.

“I could not be more pleased to make this announcement today as this beautiful park celebrates its 100th year of operation,” Dunn said. “This plan will set a path for another 100 years of recreation, education and positive experiences at Presque Isle through adaptation, good stewardship and actively working for greener solutions. I thank DCNR’s Bureau of Facility Construction and Design Team, Presque Isle State Park staff, regional staff, our sustainability team and everyone who had a hand in making this announcement possible.”

The park will add a 280kW solar canopy array over the parking lot at Beach 8 that is expected to take the park to net-zero energy consumption. The array will save DCNR $30,000 on electricity annually while producing enough energy to power 25 average American homes. It will also reduce the park’s carbon footprint by more than 211,000 pounds a year, or the equivalent of removing 20 passenger cars from the road annually.

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Net-zero energy is the use of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and on-site renewable generation to account for 100 percent of energy usage.

Other plans include three public electric vehicle charging stations at Beach 8, and the addition of a plugin hybrid minivan and electric motorcycle added to Presque Isle’s vehicle fleet.

DCNR staff finalized the Climate and Sustainability Plan for Presque Isle in summer 2020 and began implementing some of the changes to help address immediate needs. Some of the existing improvements include:

  • Rain gardens at Beach 8
  • Shoreline enhancements to protect infrastructure
  • Purchase of property to the south of the park, including a portion of the badly eroding Scott Run
  • Modifications to the park’s wastewater system
  • Installation of extensions to the floating dock pilings in the marina to account for higher water levels
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“These improvements have and will continue to make this park a safer, more environmentally friendly place to visit and that will have an impact for decades to come,” said Presque Isle State Park Manager Matt Greene. “This already is one of the top destinations in the region and we are hopeful the improvements will reduce interruptions to visitors from issues caused by climate change.”

Presque Isle is the first state park to adopt a site-specific climate change plan. Severe weather, flooding, fluctuating lake levels, diminished water quality, shoreline erosion, infrastructure damage and other threats to visitor and staff safety served as the impetus for the plan. The proactive measures to address climate change and to reduce energy consumption will help mitigate those projected effects and ensure the park remains open to the millions who visit each year.

The announcement kicked off the department’s 2021 Sustainability Tour, which showcases the work done to increase sustainability, climate adaptation and mitigation measures on DCNR properties to reduce our carbon footprint, to save money for the taxpayers, and to demonstrate best practices to its millions of visitors.

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DCNR is working to incorporate sustainable designs and certified high-performance building standards into newly constructed and renovated buildings, which includes the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle. Other planned sustainability initiatives for DCNR properties includes additional solar arrays, electric vehicle charging stations, reduction of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles within the agency’s fleet, and more.

Find the department’s Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan on the DCNR website. Visit DCNR’s website for more information about Presque Isle State Park.

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