For that very reason, the staff of French Creek State Park is holding a public meeting today at the park offices to explain the extensive work under way to improve the facilities.

By ANNE PICKERING

WARWICK - Recent visitors to French Creek State Park may feel as if they have stumbled onto a Hollywood horror movie set, due to chainsaw-wielding park personnel and the steady chopping down of trees.

For that very reason, the staff of French Creek State Park is holding a public meeting today at the park offices to explain the extensive work under way to improve the facilities.

"They see us cutting down a tree and they wonder what we are doing," said Lori Nygard, assistant park manager. "We think there are some misconceptions about some of the projects."

The meeting will be held at the park office at 843 Park Road.

Park staff are removing trees for safety reasons and also to open the canopy. They will be replacing the trees with different native species and different ages so that not all the trees will be the same age.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has more than $165,000 budgeted for improvements at French Creek State Park during the 2006-07 budget year. With the winter season here, the park's projects are in full swing.

About $100,000 of the money is budgeted for repairs to Hopewell Dam, including realigning the stream and the replacement of a foot bridge. The funds are being provided through a Growing Greener II grant.

About $30,000 is being spent on refurbishing the cabins, including putting in a more efficient heating system and repairing log exteriors that have been damaged by bugs and moisture.

Rehabilitation of the 256 campsites is an ongoing job, said Eric Brown, park manager.

Some of the projects include adding crushed stone to more clearly define the camping area and the addition of electricity to several sites.

The construction of two yurts - large, permanent tents - has been in the works for the last two or three years and could possibly be complete this summer.

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