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Pennsylvania - thousands of trails - new legislation - $$ hiker permits.

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    • Pennsylvania - thousands of trails - new legislation - $$ hiker permits.

      August 15, 2014
      Release #071-14PROPOSAL: REQUIRE PERMIT FOR RECREATIONAL RIDING ON GAME LANDS Recommendation would have no impact on hikers or birdwatchers, and there are many ways to comment. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the possibility a permit soon might be required to use state game lands.And at meeting next month, the Pennsylvania Game Commission formally will consider adopting such a permit, which would not be required for anyone who holds a valid hunting or furtaker’s license. But there’s an important difference between the proposal on the table and what you might have heard about it.Namely, the permit being proposed would be required only for those riding bicycles, horses or snowmobiles on designated trails on game lands. Others, such as hikers or birdwatchers without a hunting or furtaker’s license, would continue to be able to use game lands in the same manner they do now.A study into the need for a game-lands use permit concluded that low-impact users like hikers and birdwatchers typically don’t cause the types of damage to game lands – and associated repair costs – that the permit fee would help offset.That’s why the recommendation from the Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management was narrowed to apply only to specific uses on designated trails. The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will consider the recommendation at its regular meeting to be held Sept. 22 and 23 in Delmont, Pa. The board is scheduled to hear public comment at the meeting, limited to five minutes per person, beginning at 8:30 a.m. If a vote is taken, it would occur on Sept. 23. Hunters fund game landsMany uses of game lands take a toll that requires upkeep.Driving on game lands roads, parking in lots there and using designated trails – even in the best conditions – results in some wear and tear. Historically, the state’s hunters and trappers have shouldered those maintenance costs, as well as other costs associated with game lands. Unlike state or county parks, the state game lands system was created and is maintained almost entirely with sportsmen’s dollars, derived in large part from the sale of hunting and furtakers’ licenses.Game lands are managed to improve wildlife habitat, and create hunting and trapping opportunities. The use of game lands by other outdoor enthusiasts long has been permitted, though activities not related to hunting and trapping are restricted during hunting and trapping seasons, and certain uses might be prohibited on some sections of game lands. Recreational horseback riding, bicycling and snowmobiling are permitted only on designated trails on game lands.However, there often are other trails on game lands that, even though they are not designated, are used frequently for recreational riding. In some cases, it might be difficult for a rider to distinguish a designated from a non-designated trail. Signs posting trails as being off limits often are torn down, or just ignored. And the damage to wildlife habitat from undesignated trails, and the upkeep costs of designated trails, both can mount very quickly.Money spent on trailsThere are more than 1,328 miles of designated trails on game lands to accommodate horseback riding, bicycling and snowmobiles.That’s about the same distance you’d cover if you walked the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and back – twice. Or, if you’d rather, you could walk from Harrisburg to Florida and cover roughly the same distance.In reviewing recent spending records, the Game Commission identified about $230,000 in known costs over the past three years associated with trail maintenance and signage. Other projects to build or maintain game lands roads, parking lots or other infrastructure – all of which benefits trail users – topped $4 million in less than three years. Trails also serve as rights of way, meaning they create areas that must be excluded from revenue generators like timber sales, accounting for the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.Damage to trails due to horses, bicycles and snowmobiles can be considerable.When the ground is saturated, horses can leave hoof prints 6 inches deep. And in areas with heavy traffic, or that stay wet most of the time, the damage is even worse. It’s no different with bicycles and snowmobiles, which also can damage habitat and infrastructure and create the same type of erosion and sedimentation concerns, at ford crossings and elsewhere.In the worst cases, damage associated with trails threatens the very purpose of the game lands, and conflicts with the concept that recreational opportunities on game lands should come at no compromise to wildlife habitat or hunting or trapping opportunities. The permit being considered would seek to better regulate riding on designated trails, thereby mitigating that impact as well as raising revenue for associated maintenance costs.Given the Game Commission’s duty to mitigate damage caused by uses not related to hunting or trapping, a lack of action might also jeopardize the receipt of future Pittman-Robertson funds, which are derived from a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, then doled out to the states for habitat restoration and other uses. The permit Under the recommendation proposed, the privileges to ride horses, bicycles or snowmobiles on designated trails on game lands would be included within the existing State Game Lands Shooting Range Permit, commonly called a range permit.Range permits cost $30 and are available for purchase online through the Outdoor Shop at the Game Commission’s website. Range permits are effective from June 30 to July 1, mirroring the timetable for hunting and furtakers’ licenses.Of course, those who hold a valid hunting or furtaker’s license will not be required to obtain a permit to ride horses, bicycles or snowmobiles on designated game lands trails. They receive those privileges when they purchase their licenses.If the recommendation is adopted, and a permit becomes required for others to use designated trails on state game lands, the name of the dual-purpose permit will be changed to “State Game Lands Permit.” The permits would only be required for those 16 years of age or older. Opportunity to commentThose wishing to comment about the proposal can do so at the Board of Game Commissioners meeting on Monday, Sept. 22 in Westmoreland County. The meeting is to be held at the Lamplighter Inn, 6566 William Penn Highway, Delmont, Pa. 15626.Doors open at 7:45 a.m. the day of the meeting and public comment begins at 8:30 a.m. The commissioners may vote on the proposal during the meeting’s second day Sept. 23. The Sept. 23 meeting is scheduled for the same location and also will start at 8:30.Comments also may be submitted in writing. The easiest way to submit a comment is by email sent to pgccomments@pa.gov. Comments also can be mailed to the Game Commission. Address the envelope ATTN: Game Lands Permit, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797. Comments received will be shared with the commissioners.

      MORE INFO witf.org/news/2014/08/some-usi…-could-face-trail-fee.php
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!
    • hikerboy wrote:

      can somebody read this to me?


      Crib notes on the bottom - click with explanation... They say it wont affect hikers... well you can guess... found this out by AM radio monitoring WEEU Reading!

      witf.org/news/2014/08/some-usi…-could-face-trail-fee.php
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!
    • OzJacko wrote:

      The idea of paying to walk on trails I can live with.
      Paying to walk on Pennsylvania's rocks would be hard to reconcile.


      Oh come on your boots are now well rounded,,, besides I keep hearing other states were worse....

      OH here are the rocks on the pinnicle... blue rocks... zoom up to see the kids playing... for size
      [IMG:http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/2005_1031Image0018.jpg]
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!


    • YES that's it you found it...

      There will be a public comment period at 8:30 a.m. the first day of the
      meeting (JAN27). However, comments also may be submitted by email to pgccomments@pa.gov, or by mail to ATTN: Game Lands Permit, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

      Why its important>>>>>>"There's definitely a huge interest in Glen Onoko, as well as a lot of area up by Ricketts Glen that would be effectively shut down by this," Desilets said. "It seems a little heavy handed to me that they would go to the length that they're going."


      Meaning - if your car is near a trail head they will come looking for you and fining you for hiking!

      Why? you & others cannot be at risk for not wearing blaze orange. In spite of a very low risk. (Sunday is not an available hunting day)

      The ATC & Appalachian Mountain Club and other hiking advocacy groups are
      encouraging residents to submit comments to the commission before its
      Jan. 27 meeting at pgccomments@pa.gov.
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!
    • Who wants to lug a 9 pound rifle? You cant hunt with a hand gun - they got rules, has to be fair for the deer!

      Hey that means trails would be closed for for more than 130 days a year!
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Wise Old Owl ().




    • This affects all of the AT Port Clinton - up to the Pinnicle & Pulpit and Andreas North Hampton to the approach of DWG. Going the other way Rauch Gap

      Here is their Hunting Map if you zoom up some of the AT trail and blue trails appears


      pgcmaps.pa.gov/pgcpublicviewer/
      Numerous studies suggest that eating a single steak significantly increases the vulnerability to consuming the warm entrails of a freshly killed hitchhiker. Gateway Cannibals!

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Wise Old Owl ().

    • WiseOldOwl wrote:

      Thru Jersey incorporating the Baton Trail in the pine-lands and across the bridge into Delaware.... Straight thru Wilmington....


      This affects all of Port Clinton - up to the Pinnicle & Pulpit

      Here is their Hunting Map if you zoom up some of the trails appears

      pgcmaps.pa.gov/pgcpublicviewer/


      Would not be the AT Anymore if it's going along the coastal areas like Wilmington.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:

      WiseOldOwl wrote:

      Thru Jersey incorporating the Baton Trail in the pine-lands and across the bridge into Delaware.... Straight thru Wilmington....


      This affects all of Port Clinton - up to the Pinnicle & Pulpit

      Here is their Hunting Map if you zoom up some of the trails appears

      pgcmaps.pa.gov/pgcpublicviewer/


      Would not be the AT Anymore if it's going along the coastal areas like Wilmington.

      I've heard it's not the AT anymore anyways. That it's now full of oops - dumb bunnies.
      Changes Daily→ ♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫ ♪♫♪♫♪♫ ← Don't blame me. It's That Lonesome Guitar.


    • This article says the AT would be exempt, but folks are concerned about access trails to/from the AT. I guess I'm just gonna have to figure out how many miles we're talking, and pack the appropriate amount of snickers bars and ramen.

      Apparently the permit they're talking about would be free, and is to hike on state game land. It's unclear if AT hikers will be exempt from that. That could be a pain for me this summer. Hopefully it'll be as simple as a self-registration kiosk...

      Maybe I do will submit my comments to the commission ... pgccomments@pa.gov.


      Oh bother said Pooh as he chambered another .338 Lapua Magnum round into his McMillan TAC-338 sniper rifle ...
      -
      L.Dog
      AT 2000 Mile LASHer '12-'15
    • Astro wrote:

      OzJacko wrote:

      The idea of paying to walk on trails I can live with.
      Paying to walk on Pennsylvania's rocks would be hard to reconcile.


      Going NOBO in PA where is it the rocks start to get bad? And how long does it last?


      There's a small appetizer before the descent into Duncannon. Then there are rocks in various sections between the Susquehanna River and Route 501, but they're not THE rocks. I specifically recall heading NOBO from the 501 shelter and immediately hitting the sharp, slanted rocks with few options to step around them. So THESE are the dreaded Rocks of PA...

      The worst section in my memory was between Wind Gap and Fox Gap. That's where I took this picture.

      [IMG:http://fauster.smugmug.com/Hiking/AT-Section-Hike-16/i-NW37hbk/0/M/Section 16 AT 026-M.jpg]
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH.
    • Stalking Tortoise has it right. The real problem for a thruhiker is the regrowth covering the trail where the rocks get worst. You can't see all the rocks so your feet get banged and twisted every which way as you try to walk through it. This is exacerbated by the fact that thruhikers are typically hiking at quite a pace by this point. It's easy to say hike slower, but it's not easy 1200 miles in. I really do recommend climbing up out of Lehigh Gap for the photo op and then a few mile down at the next road catching a lift to somwhere near Unionville. The pain and the risk is not worth it. Lots of people get injured in this bit. You can avoid John stempa while you're at it.
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • OzJacko wrote:

      Stalking Tortoise has it right. The real problem for a thruhiker is the regrowth covering the trail where the rocks get worst. You can't see all the rocks so your feet get banged and twisted every which way as you try to walk through it. This is exacerbated by the fact that thruhikers are typically hiking at quite a pace by this point. It's easy to say hike slower, but it's not easy 1200 miles in. I really do recommend climbing up out of Lehigh Gap for the photo op and then a few mile down at the next road catching a lift to somwhere near Unionville. The pain and the risk is not worth it. Lots of people get injured in this bit. You can avoid John stempa while you're at it.


      I guess I should be alright. I am just a section hiker, and I am pretty good at "going slow". ;)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I got a chuckle out of this sight in SW Virginia a couple of years ago just north of the Baileys Gap Shelter. A SOBO must of had a bad flashback...

      [IMG:http://fauster.smugmug.com/Hiking/AT-Section-Hike-26/i-Zk8F2Sr/0/M/IMG_0022-M.jpg]

      My problem with the Rocks of PA was that I always hit them at the end of a long section. My feet were already beat up from the transition between desk job and hiking. Add in a lack of trail conditioning and I was stumbling through those damn rocks while cursing a blue streak.

      My first section hike was from High Point State Park to DWG. The rocks on that side of the river sucked as well until I got past Sunfish Pond. The second section hike was NOBO from High Point and the rocks were nowhere to be found.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH.
    • OzJacko wrote:

      Stalking Tortoise has it right. The real problem for a thruhiker is the regrowth covering the trail where the rocks get worst. You can't see all the rocks so your feet get banged and twisted every which way as you try to walk through it. This is exacerbated by the fact that thruhikers are typically hiking at quite a pace by this point. It's easy to say hike slower, but it's not easy 1200 miles in. I really do recommend climbing up out of Lehigh Gap for the photo op and then a few mile down at the next road catching a lift to somwhere near Unionville. The pain and the risk is not worth it. Lots of people get injured in this bit. You can avoid John stempa while you're at it.


      The Pennsylvania Rocks look awfully like (and, I understand, are geologically more or less identical to) the Catskill Crud. In which case, even in the old growth, there's a dense understory of Viburnum lantanoides that both hides the footing with broad leaves and snares the hiker with its runners - its vulgar name is hobblebush.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • OzJacko wrote:

      Stalking Tortoise has it right. The real problem for a thruhiker is the regrowth covering the trail where the rocks get worst. You can't see all the rocks so your feet get banged and twisted every which way as you try to walk through it. This is exacerbated by the fact that thruhikers are typically hiking at quite a pace by this point. It's easy to say hike slower, but it's not easy 1200 miles in. I really do recommend climbing up out of Lehigh Gap for the photo op and then a few mile down at the next road catching a lift to somwhere near Unionville. The pain and the risk is not worth it. Lots of people get injured in this bit. You can avoid John stempa while you're at it.
      yup, the big ones aren't the problem, it's those little 2" ankle tuners that seem to come outta nowhere that trip ya up.