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More state park beaches going smoke-free

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Two years after banning smoking on beaches at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources  announced Tuesday it is expanding the trial program to include eight new state parks across Pennsylvania.

Starting May 1, the pilot program prohibits smoking on the beaches and swimming areas of the newly designated state parks. For visitors who smoke and still want to use these beaches, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided.

“When the Clean Air Beach Program began in May 2013, Pine Grove Furnace State Park was selected as the initial site because it gave visitors the choice of frequenting a swimming beach where smoking was prohibited at the park’s one lake and permitted nearby at another,” said DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Newly selected parks participating in the program again give visitors choices — smoke-free areas or nearby state parks where smoking is not restricted.”

Smoking in beach and swim areas now will be restricted at the following state parks:

Black Moshannon, Centre County; Colonel Denning, Cumberland County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Locust Lake, Schuylkill County; Moraine (South Shore), Butler County; Parker Dam, Clearfield County; Presque Isle (Barracks Beach and Beach No. 11), Erie County; and Promised Land (Pickerel Point Beach), Pike County.

No longer a pilot program, smoking restrictions are now permanent at Pine Grove Furnace’s Fuller Lake beach area. The park’s nearby Laurel Lake beach remains open to smokers.

“In effect for two summers now, Fuller Lake beach restrictions have been hailed by visitors for significantly improving air quality and reducing cigarette-butt litter,” Dunn noted. “Success of initial goals, as well as feedback from park visitors from across the state, encouraged us to expand the Clean Air Beach Program this season.”

The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars and the increasingly popular e-cigarettes. Staff at affected parks have been preparing for the change by purchasing and installing butt disposal units; installing new signage; establishing designated smoking areas with seating; and informing park user and support groups.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select “Find a Park”).