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Laurel Mountain State Park Controversy

There is frustration surrounding access to a local state park.

Residents complaining about signs telling them that hiking in the park is prohibited.

Laurel Mountain State Park on the border of Somerset and Westmoreland counties is causing the controversy.

At the park, a gate is half closed and signs posted that say hiking, biking and other activities are prohibited.

We reached out to park rangers and the Bureau of State Parks in Harrisburg for answers.

Douglas Sphar shared, “my dogs swim in the lake four five days a week for a year and a half. And all of a sudden, were being denied access to this beautiful park.”

Laurel Mountain State Park has been used year-round for different activities. In the winter skiing is a popular activity.

In recent years when the ski resort closes for the winter, so does the rest of the entire state park. Once the snow melts, people like Douglas and Carmen say they want to enjoy other activities.

Douglas said, “There was a ranger SUV parked here and the ranger got out and approached and said you know the areas closed. And I said yeah I know the ski resort is not open in the summertime, I’m just an old guy walking my dogs.”

Carmen Rose told us, “And he told me, no. You’re not even allowed to go back there. I can fine you with just you being there. We want to be able to walk our dogs back there.”

Douglas and Carmen says they’ve complained to anyone who will listen.

Even a ranger at a near by park has heard the concerns about the park access.

Ed Callahan who works for D.C.N.R. Forbes State Park said, “When it comes to laurel mountain state park, a lot of people do walk their dogs. They walk back the road. So were getting a lot of calls because people want to do that.”

We have tried calling the park rangers as well as the D.C.N.R repeatedly for an explanation and yet to hear back.

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