Pennsylvania park officials drop campground plans for Big Elk Creek State Park

This story is part of the WHYY News Climate Desk, bringing you news and solutions for our changing region.

From the Poconos to the Jersey Shore to the mouth of the Delaware Bay, what do you want to know about climate change? What would you like us to cover? Get in touch.

A controversial proposal to add a campsite at a new Pennsylvania state park in Landenberg, Chester County, has been taken off the table after hundreds of residents petitioned against it.

Residents had hoped recreation at Big Elk Creek State Park, which opened in 2022, would be limited to daytime activities, such as hiking or birding.

The land that was in consideration for camping was located within eyeshot of neighboring homes, and residents voiced concerns about increased traffic and noise.

The residents say they’re also worried about how construction, as well as increased foot traffic, would impact waterways and habitats. The area is home to 15 endangered or rare plants, including three varieties of orchids, as well as rare species, such as the short-eared owl.

The pushback has prompted the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to pause any camping considerations, said spokesman Wesley Robinson. The agency is also creating a new task force of local public officials and other stakeholders to discuss its future plans for the park, he said.

“We didn’t go through this process and communicate as well as we could have. We’re at a point now where, in order to get this right, we have to take a step back,” Robinson said. “We’re working to better communicate our focus right now. And our focus right now is ecological restoration and sharing the importance of the culture and history that is attached to this park.”

DCNR still plans to build a visitor center and restrooms for park visitors.

  • January 30, 2024
  • Articles,
  • This post was written by