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Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources

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The Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources is a state executive position in the Pennsylvania state government. The secretary is the head of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, an office created in 1995 to maintain and preserve state parks and forest lands.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Richard Allan. He was nominated by Governor Tom Corbett on March 23, 2011, and unanimously confirmed by the state senate on June 13, 2011.


Though the state constitution does not specifically create the office of Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, it does allow for the addition of public officers in Article IV, Section 1:

All officers, whose selection is not provided for in this Constitution, shall be elected or appointed as may be directed by law.


There are no specific qualifications for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources.


The Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources is not elected in Pennsylvania. The Governor nominates a candidate to the state senate, and the senate confirms the nominee by a two-thirds majority before the candidate takes the oath of office.


Article IV, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution grants the governor the power to appoint officers to fill vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office, the governor nominates a successor. This nomination must be made to the commonwealth senate within 90 days of the vacancy. The senate must then take action (confirming or not confirming the nomination) within 25 legislative days.[1]


The secretary is responsible for the oversight of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The primary duties of the department are:

  • maintaining and preserving Pennsylvania's 117 state parks
  • managing 2.1 million acres of state forest land
  • providing information on Pennsylvania's ecological and geological resources
  • establishing community conservation partnerships to benefit rivers, trailways, greenways, local parks, regional parks, and open spaces[2]


DCNR houses eight bureaus and a separate office that manages the Wild Resource Conservation Program.

State parks

Pennsylvania boasts 117 state parks that cover approximately 295,000 acres. The State Parks Bureau manages the operation of the parks, providing recreational and educational opportunities for the more than 36 million annual park visitors.


The Forestry Bureau manages the 2.1 million acres of "Penn's Woods," the namesake of the commonwealth. The bureau works to provide recreational and education programming, forest fire and pest prevention, and protection the thousands of plant and animal species that make a home in the state forests.

Topographic & Geologic Survey

The Topographic & Geologic Survey Bureau maps and provides information about geographic and topographic features throughout the commonwealth. The staff also disseminate information and date pertaining to water, gas and oil wells, and other underground resources.

Recreation & Conservation

Through the Recreation & Conservation Bureau, the department awards monetary grants to local communities for programs that work to conserve the commonwealth's natural and cultural resources. The bureau also manages 12 heritage sites.

Facility Design & Construction

The Facility Design & Construction Bureau works to maintain the infrastructure of state parks and forests. Staff engineers design and manage projects to build and improve bridges, water and sewage systems, swimming pools, beach areas, and dams.

Conservation Science

The Office of Conservation Science manages several collaborative programs to support the mission of the department, identify emerging environmental issues, and educate Pennsylvania residents about sustainable practices.

Human Resources

The Human Resources Bureau provides personnel management for the department.

Administrative Services

The Administrative Services Bureau provides administrative support to the department.


In 2010, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources was paid an estimated $132,934 according to the Council of State Governments.[3]

Contact information

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Rachel Carson State Office Building
PO Box 8767
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8767
Email links for specific questions
Contact information for the Bureaus of the Department

See also

External links