Allegheny National Forest Open House

Allegheny National Forest Open House

Marienville, Pa. (January 25, 2018) – The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) will change operations at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area for the 2018 season and announced two open houses planned in early February to provide an opportunity for the public to discuss concerns and ideas regarding the future operations at Twin Lakes. 

The Forest will operate the day use facilities at Twin Lakes in 2018, but camping will not be available this year. According to Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon, “This is not a decision to close Twin Lakes, but for 2018 the ANF does not have the funding or means to address deficiencies with the wastewater treatment system that led to the early closure of the site in September 2017, or the lingering issues with other facilities that support camping at Twin Lakes. We recognize that Twin Lakes is an important recreation destination for local communities and we are committed to maintaining access to the site for day uses such as fishing, swimming, hiking and picnicking in 2018.”

Following a decade of reduced appropriated funding for recreation management, the ANF has seen another 12% reduction in recreation funding since 2015. This has not only affected the ability to address deferred maintenance for recreation facilities across the Forest, it has reduced the staff available to manage the recreation program. The ANF continues to operate developed recreation fee sites through a concessionaire permit, but this will not be an option for Twin Lakes in 2018.

Following the early closure of the Twin Lakes Recreation Area in September 2017, the concessionaire, Allegheny Site Management (ASM), determined that it could no longer operate this facility under the terms of their concession permit.  ASM elected to turn the facility back to the Forest Service to operate.

The ANF has not yet been allocated funds to maintain or repair recreation or administrative facilities for 2018, but decisions on the upcoming operating season cannot be postponed.  With limited staffing, the ANF can maintain public access to Twin Lakes for day use activities, but this will not include opening the main bathhouse.

The decision to forego camping at Twin Lakes in 2018 is not a decision to permanently close the facility. The Allegheny National Forest continues to assess future options for all recreation facilities through a Recreation Site Analysis.

Gathering public input from Twin Lakes’ users is essential to determining any future actions for this site. The Forest plans to hold two open house in February to provide the public with the opportunity to engage in conversation with ANF staff about their personal connections to Twin Lakes, the challenges with maintaining and operating the site, and potential options for operating this site in the future.

The open houses will be held at the Jones Township Community Building, 320 Faries Street in Wilcox, PA (Elk County). The dates are Thursday, February 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, February 10, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The public is encouraged to attend these open houses to provide direct feedback to the Forest Service.

Please note that there will be additional opportunities for public input to any proposals regarding future operations at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area.

For more information about operations at Twin Lakes for 2018, please contact the Marienville Ranger District at 814-927-6628.  For more information about the open houses, please contact Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon at 814-927-5799, or Jones Township Secretary Laurie Storrar at 814-929-5138 (2#).

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