CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — In a visit to Centre County, the Deputy Secretary of DCNR John Norbeck said maintaining critical infrastructure at state parks is essential.

Norbeck spoke about the need to upgrade critical infrastructure in state parks and called attention to a specific bridge in Bald Eagle State Forest in need of care.

“We try to make things look great for the public, but this is kind of showing the backside,” Norbeck said.

The Coburn Pedestrian Bridge, also known as Fisherman’s Path, is a popular access point for fly fishers on Penns Creek. The bridge was built in 1880 and is in need of repair after over 140 years of heavy use.

The bridge was downgraded to foot travel only. Visitors can walk their bike across but they can not ride it because of the weight restrictions.

The bridge has been stripped down to its existing condition of unattached planks resting on rotting wooden railroad ties. The costs to repair are estimated at over $548,000.

“Thousands of people every year are coming in. Local folks for quality of life, but other folks coming in for vacations. We had testimony that folks are saying they’re coming in from around the world and that’s very much true,” Norbeck said. “They’re bringing money into Pennsylvania’s economy. If we lose this important resource, then we lose that economic side of things.”

Norbeck said the use of federal recovery funds, like the American Rescue Plan Act, could address outdated facilities like Fisherman’s Path.

“The funding that we get right now for infrastructure is insufficient for the infrastructure that we have. We just need to reinvest,” Norbeck said.

Other needs at Bald Eagle State Forest include a new building for the wood shop and snow grooming equipment, removal of the Stony Run Dam and trail improvements.

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The DCNR has a documented need of more than $1.4 billion for infrastructure repairs and improvements that would address wear and tear, extreme weather and climate change across the nation.