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Green Infrastructure in Public Parks

The PA DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation has developed five green principles for park development and sustainability. These principles guide readers in:

  1.  Maintaining and enhancing trees and natural landscaping (PDF)
  2.  Connecting people to nature (PDF)
  3.  Managing stormwater naturally (PDF)
  4.  Conserving energy (PDF)
  5. Integrating green design and construction (PDF)

GI Planning

A green infrastructure plan examines how communities function in their watershed and identifies specific locations where GI practices can:

  • reduce combined sewer overflows
  • reduce legacy sediments
  • minimize flooding
  • improve riparian habitat

Plans can include one or multiple municipalities or address a specific property or project. Carlisle Borough's Stormwater Park is a good example of a park that has used GI to leverage multiple funding sources. (see attached fact sheet)

Tools and Resources for Green and Sustainable Parks

DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation provides tools and resources to help communities and organizations achieve green and sustainable practices on their public sites.

Creating Sustainable Community Parks and Landscapes: A Guide to Improving Quality of Life by Protecting Natural Resources, Second Edition (PDF) is a DCNR guidebook that:

  • Outlines the benefits of enhancing the natural resources in local parks
  • Explains how to maintain parks in a sustainable manner
  • Provides a step-by-step guide to help park staff achieve those results.

Cost Benefit Analysis Web Page

The DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation offers calculators, tools, models, and fact sheets to assist with determining whether to install green infrastructure practices on your site.

PA Green Community Parks Map

This map from DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation features community parks across Pennsylvania that have incorporated best practices in green and sustainable design, operations, and maintenance.

The map also lists parks that have been nominated and selected for the annual Green Park Award from DCNR and the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society.



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  1. Toni Pogue

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