Additional State Forest Roads Opening for Hunting Seasons

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Hunters heading into Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands this season will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced yesterday.

“The Bureau of Forestry hopes to improve accessibility while promoting hunting where it is needed to benefit forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem,” said DCNR Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry Dan Devlin. “For that reason, more than 400 miles of state forest roads normally open only for administrative use will again be available to hunters and others visiting state forestlands this year.”

More than 3,000 miles of state forest roadways will be open during the statewide archery season, which opens Saturday, October 4, and closes November 15. They will continue to stay open through other hunting seasons continuing into January, 2015.

“Regardless of whether they seek deer, bear, turkey or small game, hunters in our state forests will find more than 90 percent of that land now is within one-half mile of an open road,” said Devlin.

With the hunter in mind, DCNR recently has launched a new interactive map of state forest lands across the state offering information on newly opened roads, timber harvesting activity, forestry office contact numbers and more.

Hunters are reminded that DCNR has closed sections of Delaware State Forest to hunters and others traveling on foot in the woodlands. The move comes in concert with the Pennsylvania State Police and in the wake of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s temporary suspension of hunting and closure of its game lands within seven townships in northeastern Pennsylvania during an ongoing manhunt.

On Wednesday, the commission issued an executive order temporarily closing game lands and suspending hunting and trapping seasons within Price, Barrett and Paradise townships in Monroe County; and Blooming Grove, Porter, Lehman and Greene townships in Pike County. The townships all are within Wildlife Management Unit 3D.

Hunters and others can access a map of that area and state forestlands affected by reading the advisory listed at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/delaware/index.htm.

Meanwhile, many state parks, especially those in the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds region, offer inexpensive camping and access to top-quality hunting in nearby public forestlands.

Primitive camping on state forestlands is also an option, giving hunters a backcountry camping or hunting experience. Camping permits, issued by the managing forest district, will be required when camping on state forestlands.

Many of these campsites are close to state parks and forestlands enrolled in the Pa. Game Commission’s Deer Management Assistance Program, permitting hunters to take one antlerless deer or more when properly licensed. Hunters are advised to check with state forests district headquarters or state park offices about availability.

Hunters traveling to some north central areas of the state are reminded some hunting areas and travel routes may be impacted by Marcellus Shale-related activities. Some state forest roads may be temporarily closed during drilling operations or other peak periods of heavy use to reduce potential safety hazards.

To avoid potential conflicts on state forest roads during times of high public use, DCNR will attempt to limit or restrict truck traffic at the outset of major hunting and fishing seasons.

Also, hunters in Sproul State Forest are reminded a large-scale acid mine remediation project is under way near Renovo with heavy truck traffic. A 1.5 mile section of Boyer Road, a state forest road, will be closed but the project’s major impact is the closure of Two Mile Road, a public road, from the Huling Branch Parking Lot to Robbins Farm Road. Access into that area will be from Route 144 on either Big Basin or Quarter Mile roads.

Also, Huling Branch, Whiskey Springs and Middle Branch roads in the state forest will be opened for hunter access. Due to project safety concerns, barricades will be placed which allow partial access to Huling Branch and Boyer roads. More information and a detailed map of the 100-acre Huling Branch reclamation project can be found at www.dcnr.state.pa.us. Select Bureau of Forestry, then “State Forest Roads and Trails Advisories.”

Some state forest roads only will be opened for the second week of the traditional rifle season because they cannot withstand the expected heavy traffic of the first week. Two- or three-month long openings will be in effect only where there is minimal threat of damage or deterioration to road surfaces or forest surroundings.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s 20 state forest districts and 120 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa and select “Find a Forest” or “Find a Park.”

The new interactive state forest map can be viewed at http://maps.dcnr.pa.gov/bof/huntmap/index.html.

Marcellus Shale information can be found on Bureau of Forestry pages under “Natural Gas Drilling on State Forests.” Camping opportunities and details can be found on both the “Forestry” and “State Park” pages.


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