Last updated: July 30. 2014 1:11PM - 370 Views

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Ellen Ferretti, hear our plea.

Find a way to safeguard Luzerne County’s Moon Lake Park.

As secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, you have the power to mutually explore a state takeover of the county-owned facility in Plymouth Township. And, as a Back Mountain resident with considerable ties to this area, you’re certainly familiar with the park’s bedeviled history and, in more recent years, bedraggled condition.

This county can’t afford to run the place. Several years ago, it closed the park’s campground, drained the pool and suspended services at the boat rental concession, all but signaling surrender. Thieves pounced, stripping the park office and other buildings of metal pipes and most anything else they could haul off.

The 650-acre recreational site, with its namesake lake, deserves better treatment. The notion of state ownership has been raised before, then rejected.

This time, please take the ball and run with it. Research the viability of adding Moon Lake to the state’s roster of 120 or so conservation areas and parks.

As of this week, it seems several Luzerne County Council members have concluded that’s the best option. Others haven’t voiced full support yet, while still others – including Eileen Sorokas – hint at as-yet-undisclosed proposals to maintain local control of Moon Lake. In the absence of specifics, we doubt those plans have merit and recognize the true cost of refurbishing and operating the park in perpetuity.

So, Secretary Ferretti, please, if you already haven’t, convene a local meeting and begin the collaboration needed to protect this natural beauty from benign neglect, or worse.

Involve county officials and state lawmakers, the latter of whom can bring clout. Determine if a transfer can be negotiated and, if so, expedite it. (While all the major players are in the room, you might as well raise the topic of Luzerne County’s Seven Tubs Nature Area, too. Hey, if the 40-foot pit that is Archbald Pothole can be a state park, certainly the resplendent pools of Seven Tubs qualify.)

The priority, of course, is to ensure Moon Lake Park can be adequately cared for while also complementing the area’s existing state parks: Frances Slocum, Lehigh Gorge, Nescopeck and Ricketts Glen. Conceivably, because of their proximity, a Moon Lake State Park could supply spillover camping spots for the popular Ricketts Glen during busy holiday weekends. For that matter, an eco-friendly lodge – similar to the one at Bald Eagle State Park near State College – wouldn’t seem out of place at Moon Lake, and would generate some jobs.

Our only concern with state involvement, Secretary Ferretti, is your apparent stance on natural gas drilling. Moon Lake park’s surface, and whatever lies beneath, should never be exploited for fossil-fuel extraction. Conservation can’t be conditional based on today’s “needs”; you either save something for future generations or you don’t.

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