There is a new sheriff in town…

He is not an actual sheriff per say, but is the new park manager for Ohiopyle State Park. Ken Bisbee accepted his position at the 20,000 plus acre state park in March 2014 replacing James Juran, who accepted a regional position in north central Pennsylvania with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Originally from Erie, Bisbee worked in Yellow Creek State Park in Indiana for the past thirty years. He received his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Pennsylvania State University in 1980 and briefly worked at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Northampton County before moving to Indiana to work at Yellow Creek State Park.

After his introduction at Ohiopyle’s Meet n’ Greet on Monday, April seventh, Bisbee was asked a variety of questions in regards to his new role as Ohiopyle’s state park manager with DCNR. A few of the questions were related to information regarding the $7 million Ohiopyle State Park office and Laurel Highlands Visitor Center currently being built. Although the new visitor center completion date was pushed back to May fifthteenth because of the inclement weather this winter, Bisbee hopes the LEED Gold-Certified building will be open to the public by this summer. One new feature of the building is that the back of the building will be constructed of glass panels for a picturesque view of the Ohiopyle falls in all kinds of weather. Another feature of the building is an output waste system that essentially reduces the waste output of the building to zero with the exception of high capacity days. On those days, the waste will overflow into the town’s sewage system.

Another question asked was about the possible hydraulic fracturing, or better known as fracking, of Ohiopyle State Park. Bisbee said that as long as the park owns the mineral rights, all state parks have decided to not allow fracking. However, as with most of Pennsylvania’s state parks Ohiopyle owns a minimal portion of these rights. He also mentioned that while it is possible that fracking could occur in the unprotected parts of the park, there has been no sincere interest by any company to frack in the state parks since the drop of the natural gas prices. If fracking were to occur in the state park though, Bisbee assured the utmost care and precautions would be used.

When asked about what he was most excited for in his new role as park manager of Ohiopyle State Park, he mentioned how he is grateful to provide the same outdoor opportunities to visiting families that he has provided for his own family. With almost 700,000 visitors a year though, there are many responsibilities Bisbee will overtake with the DCNR. A few tasks Bisbee will be in charge of are safety, resource management, and negotiations with the commercial rafting companies. With the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage trail last year, he also foresees more visitors to Ohiopyle, which will be a great boost for the economics and public relations in Ohiopyle. To learn more about Bisbee and his new position as park manger at Ohiopyle State Park, please click here to read the article the Herald Standard featured.