Pennsylvania Access Alert

Pennyslvania Access Fund Coordinator Bob Value sent us this alert to a threat to access for Pennsylvania climbing.  Please send an e-mail as outlined in Bob's message.  Thanks.

Pete Ziegenfuss on the Big Wednesday project at Haycock.   Photograph by Char Fetterolf.

Pete Ziegenfuss on the Big Wednesday project at Haycock.   Photograph by Char Fetterolf.

The vast majority of climbing in Pennsylvania is located on PA Game Lands, which hosts exceptional climbing opportunities at Haycock Mountain, Hunter's Rocks and Coll's Cove, to name just a few. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management is currently studying the feasibility of having the PA Game Commission implement a free permit system for secondary users of PA Game Lands—including climbers, hikers, and mountain bikers—who do not possess a hunting or furtaking (trapping) license. The permit system would allow the agency to disseminate educational and safety information and collect data from secondary users, but it would also close PA Game Lands to all secondary users, climbers included, for nearly six months during hunting seasons (except on Sundays).

 

Hunting seasons are defined as:

  • The last Saturday in September until the third Saturday in January
  • The second Saturday in April through the last Saturday in May

These proposed closure periods would prohibit climbing and other forms of outdoor recreation during some of the finest times to enjoy Pennsylvania’s Game Lands. While the Access Fund supports the goal of the permit system to disseminate educational materials so that climbers can safely coexist with hunters and help conserve the environment, a blanket closure during hunting seasons is unwarranted and unduly restricts a large group of PA Game Lands’ stakeholders. Across the country, there are many excellent examples of climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, paddlers, and equestrians coexisting with hunters during hunting seasons. And the free permit system also is an opportunity to incorporate secondary uses into Game Lands’ management decisions, and educate secondary users in a way that will preclude the need for closure periods.

We need your help to make climbers voices heard by Monday, January 26! The public is being asked to comment on the proposal, and you can submit your thoughts on this closure to the Pennsylvania Game Commission using our letter writing tool below. We have provided the following bullet points to guide your thoughts. In addition to personalizing the bullet points, tell the commission who you are, where you live, and why the game lands are an important resource. Finally, thank them for considering your comments.

  • I am supportive of the proposed free permits for Game Lands if they are accessible and easily obtainable by secondary users, and used by the commission to inform management decisions and educate secondary users on safely coexisting with hunters and trappers and protecting natural resources.
  • I do not support the extensive closure periods that are proposed for secondary users during hunting seasons. There are many excellent examples from across the country of state and federal game lands being successfully managed for multiple uses during hunting season.
  • Properly administered, a free permit system should effectively educate secondary users about safety and responsible use of game lands during hunting seasons, eliminating the need for a closure.
  • There are exceptional climbing resources on PA Game Lands, and rock climbers are important PA Game Lands stakeholders and provide economic benefits to local communities.
  • Rock climbers nationwide have proven to be responsible stewards of public lands, state and federal game lands, and are able to coexist with hunters.

Email BY end of Saturday to pgccomments@pa.gov

Denise Strempzek on Ms. Shagwell at Haycock.  Photo by Char Fetterolf.

Denise Strempzek on Ms. Shagwell at Haycock.  Photo by Char Fetterolf.