Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Pennsylvania’s first state forest ATV recreation area set

Catawissa, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources plans to open the first motorized recreation area in a Pennsylvania state forest in summer 2023.

To that end, the agency has released a master plan for the Catawissa Recreation Area and is seeking public comment on that plan.

The Catawissa Recreation Area is a 5,541-acre tract that DCNR plans to develop into a motorized recreation area in Weiser State Forest in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

The agency is working with the Larson Design Group and The Markosky Engineering Group to develop the master plan for the recreation area.

An initial version of that plan can be viewed on the DCNR website: A survey about the plan can be accessed through the same site until Dec. 16.

“As we move closer to opening a new recreation area, it is critical we receive public input to help chart a course for off-highway recreation on these public lands,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.

Catawissa Recreation Area includes land that previously was the site of an off-highway vehicle park, Paragon Adventure Park, which closed more than 10 years ago.

State forest officials are managing the land until planning is complete and a contractor assumes operational control.

DCNR hopes the project will be a new model for using Liquid Fuels funds and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection restoration funds to conserve land while expanding opportunities for ATVs, dirt bikes, off-highway vehicles and other forms of recreation.

Pennsylvania has seen a growing demand for motorized and off-highway vehicle trail
riding experiences over the past decade, with more than 278,000 ATVs
currently registered in the state.

While motorized recreation is the focus of the project, the site also has natural features that will be protected.

“The Catawissa Recreation area is a testament to DCNR’s commitment to
providing outdoor recreation opportunities for all users,” said State
Forester Ellen Shultzabarger.

“With that said, we will remain positive stewards for these public lands and
want to assure the public that conservation is at the core of this
project, as it is our agency’s mission.”

She noted that the site being developed has significant ecological value as
a large contiguous tract of forest including sensitive plant habitats,
high-quality tributaries to Catawissa Creek and a stand of old-growth

In addition to enhancing motorized recreation in Pennsylvania, the new area will
provide opportunities to manage natural resources, restore water quality
and rehabilitate abandoned mine lands in the area.

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