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Susquehanna Life

Hikers to Be Required to Have Permits to Use State Game Lands

Jan 19, 2015 03:48PM ● By Erica Shames

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced its intention to require hikers to have permits to use State Game Lands, last week.

Keystone Trails Association has been following the development of this proposal since last summer, when non-hunter permits for State Game Lands access were being considered. In August, Keystone Trails Association's executive director Curt Ashenfelter met with commission's executive director to advocate on hikers' behalf, and was assured that hikers would be exempt from any permitting requirement. In September, the commission again relayed that the proposal would be revised to exempt persons using the game lands on foot. 

Unfortunately, the commission's latest proposal does not reflect these conversations. 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is now proposing a State Game Lands permit, which would be free-of-charge, to be required of all non-hunter trail users accessing the many other trails in Pennsylvania that cross the game lands. 

In many states, hikers are required to have permits to utilize their trails. In Pennsylvania, we have fought hard to keep our trails open to all hikers and trail runners. This policy could change that, and the precedent it would set could affect hikers for decades to come. Even a "free" permit has its costs.

Everyone who hikes is encouraged to review the commission's most recent proposal. The Keystone Trails Association will advocate on the behalf of the public at the commission's next meeting on Jan. 27.

In addition, please consider contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission directly with your concerns. The more individuals and organizations that express their reservations about this proposal, the better.

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