Free to Hike or Government Controlled?

“The land, the earth God gave to man for his home … should never be the possession of any man, corporation, (or) society … any more than the air or water. Laws change; people die; the land remains.” – Abraham Lincoln

The state of Pennsylvania Game Commission wants to propose some new laws for hikers on state game lands that would restrict hiking for 130 days each year.

Is the government, along with other things, going to try to control where I walk/ hike and when? Fall is another peak time for hikers and on the current proposal it would ban hikers from hiking game lands during the fall season, except on Sunday’s. You might be thinking, if you’re not from PA, why this is an issue? Why not hike someplace else? A majority of state game lands cross over into state park trails, Stand Stone Trail, the Tuscarora Trail and the Mid-state Trail (Great Eastern Trail). There is history within the woods of state game lands and trails that lead to some great vistas and views.

I have friends and family who hunt and I’m not against hunting. I’m also not picking a fight with hunters, however….this is ridiculous. Hikers, simply wear blaze orange during hunting season and respect hunters. Hunters, respect hikers and our right to walk through the woods. SGL’s should not be solely for the use of hunters. This could effect a lot of outdoor enthusiasts that live and travel to PA to enjoy it’s state parks, trails and woods. Our forefathers who blazed the trails we hike on did so for ALL the enjoy, not a select group of people. And God created these lands for ALL to enjoy. “This land was made for AND me…” That’s my two cents.

Pennsylvania considering all-out hiking ban on state game lands during hunting season.

Fall foliage season is a popular time for hiking in Pennsylvania.

But fall hiking on state game lands might be prohibited if a new regulation under consideration by the Pennsylvania Game Commission is approved.

The commission is scheduled to consider a new rule Jan. 27 that would forbid hiking and other non-hunting activities on state game lands during fall and spring hunting seasons, which total more than 130 days. Hiking would still be permitted on Sundays, when hunting is disallowed.

The new rule would affect hiking along Blue Mountain in the Lehigh Valley and also nearby popular spots such as Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe and Top Rock Trail on state game land in Haycock Township, Bucks County, said Mark Zakutansky, Mid-Atlantic policy manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club, based in Bethlehem.

“Fall foliage is such a draw,” Zakutansky said. “Hikers have always been respectful in wearing orange and staying on trails – it seems a little knee-jerk.”

The Appalachian Trail and other long-distance trails that go through state game lands would be exempt, but Zakutansky said hiking advocates worry access paths to those trails through state game lands would be restricted.

“That’s a concern that people will be limited in their access to the Appalachian Trail because a lot of the access trails will be off-limits,” he said.

For the remainder of the article click here.

Keystone Trail Association information on this issue.

You can read a copy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s proposal here.

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