Please read the following and fill out the Survey. We will protect your personal information but we need your contact information in case we have questions or have difficulty finding the trail on the map. You may return the survey in two ways. If you have scanning capabilities you may scan it and email to email@example.com or you may snail mail it to Gwen Wills, 235 Mule Ln., Summerville, PA 15864
(You may find more information and history on this subject on the updated Pennsylvania Equine Council website; click on “Trails.”) In short, the Game Commission is concerned about the other uses on their lands and cannot allow them to adversely impact their primary use and purpose/mandate of “Protecting, conserving and managing the diversity of wild birds and wild mammals and their habitats; provide wildlife related education, services and recreational opportunities for both consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife, and maintaining and promoting Pennsylvania’s hunting and trapping heritage”.
Various user groups utilize the Game Lands for various recreational activities although it is not the Commission’s job to provide land access for recreational activities. We as the Pennsylvania Equine Council’s Trail Committee worked very hard to regain access following the complete closure of 1.4 million acres of Game Lands to equestrians in 2002. The Game Commission has been cooperative with us to allow within their scope, opportunities to ride in and through Game Lands to access other land open for recreation. Also there is an application process to request other routes if they fall into the agreed criteria.
Over the past 17 years, the Council has conducted workshops and educational programs teaching non-motorized trail users about the difference between State Forests & Parks and Game Lands. Not all have gotten the message, that when accessing Game Lands, horseback riders and bikers must stay on designated trails and adhere to the time frame restrictions that will not be in conflict with the hunting seasons. Thus, due to unacceptable impacts on habitat, wildlife and streams on user generated trails that are not the approved “designated trail system,” the Game Commission is attempting to find a solution before they would be forced to close all access to trails on their land once again.
Over the years the PEC has offered testimony during several of the Game Commissions listening sessions, not only showing the equine public’s need to utilize access to and through Game Lands for trail access to other land open for riding but of the benefit to the Game Commission and hunters that land used to support Pennsylvania’s equine industry is also habitat and food sources for PA’s wildlife. Recreational horses accounts for 70-80% of the equine in Pennsylvania. If access to land is denied to the horseback riding public, not only will the farmers suffer that supply the feed and hay but open space needed for wildlife will also decline.
This riding season, the Game Commission will be enforcing the regulations for the use of the designated trails and the times the trails are open. We encourage everyone who rides in Game Lands to respect the existing regulations that afford us the opportunity to ride in and pass through to other land open to equestrian use. Also we encourage you to attend a 3-Day or 1-Day Trail Stewardship Workshop to learn what you can do to prevent closure of the trails on Game Lands due to adverse impacts and lack of maintenance.
We need to know what Designated Trails are being used to keep them open as we meet with the Commission in March and subsequent meetings.
“We will protect your personal information.”
Trails on Game Lands are a “secondary use” that must not interfere with the Primary mandate.
For questions or more information please call or write:
Bud or Gwen Wills at 814-379-3759, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 235 Mule Ln., Summerville, PA 15864
Bud Wills, State Trail Chair