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Proposed PA State Game Lands Permit


tyro-n-www
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There is proposal afoot in the PA State Game Commission that would require purchasing a permit for a non-hunter to bicycle, snowmobile, or ride horses on trails designated for their use in the State 's Game Lands. If adopted, the projected cost to each individual would be $30/year. My wife and I have enjoyed doing numerous geotrails that happen to be located on some of the states game lands. Sometimes we hike (which would still be allowed for anyone) and sometimes we bike. I would be exempt from the permit requirement since I hold a lifetime resident hunting license but my wife who doesn't hunt would not be allowed unless she purchased a hunting license and took the required hunter safety course as well ( before applying for the hunting license) or purchased the permit. The game commission reps have stated that the permit fee would be more expensive than just purchasing a hunting license, In part so as to increase hunting license sales which somehow equates to more revenue coming in to the game commission from the Federal Government. Therefore they want to encourage people to purchase the hunting license rather than the permit and are giving them an incentive to do so. Presently fees for hunting licenses in PA are $20.70 for adults, $6.70 for kids 12-16, and $13.70 for seniors 65 and up. The only people who would opt for the $30 fee would be Cachers from out of state as the non-resident hunting license is $101.70.

My biggest concern is the impact that this permitting system will have on the geocaching community. Although it shouldn't discourage those who just use foot travel to access caches located on game lands, there are many who would rather bike the ones that are located along geotrails that utilize existing trails designated for bicycles as well as foot travel. I also suspect that many of the cache owners use bicycles to place and maintain these geotrails and the new requirements may discourage many from placing such geotrails in the first place and from properly maintaining the trails they already have established. I don't think there are very many non-hunting geocachers who will be willing to spend $30/year just to be able to bike on the game lands. I also am concerned that Cachers from out of state will either be discouraged from trips to our game lands or will arrive there, bicycles in tow, ready for a great day of caching only to find that they first have to obtain the required permit(try that on a weekend) or risk being caught without one and fined.

The following link is to an article detailing the new proposed regulation and the reason for it:

 

http://www.thereporteronline.com/general-news/20140818/bicycles-horses-and-snowmobiles-may-need-permits-for-state-game-land-use

 

There is information near the end of the article for the public to comment on the proposed regulation if any of you are so moved. Cachers who reside in Pennsylvania I would imagine would have more clout with the game commission in such matters than out of staters but if you are an out of state cacher who sees this as affecting your decision to come to PA please let them know. If you do comment , be sure to bring up the subject of monies that the geocaching community brings into the state in terms of food, gas and lodging and other miscellaneous costs ( the unintended costs of this regulation ) that will be adversely affected by this new regulation. An email to your elected representatives might be helpful too as I believe the state legislature has to OK the new regulation before it can go into effect.

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Would this permit still be required to bike/ride horses/snowmobile on Sundays when hunting is prohibited?

Yep. It's an, "other use" fee, similar to the one already in place at G.C.-owned rifle ranges.

 

Edited to add...

Many who come to this State (and some who live here...) forget that in PA, coyotes, foxes and crows can be hunted on Sundays, pretty-much year-round, except during the two-week rifled deer Season.

Edited by cerberus1
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The game commission reps have stated that the permit fee would be more expensive than just purchasing a hunting license, In part so as to increase hunting license sales which somehow equates to more revenue coming in to the game commission from the Federal Government.

The permit fee, I suppose, will be the same thirty bucks they now charge non-hunters for use of the rifle ranges.

Please tell me where you got the idea that the Game Commission gets any monies from the Federal Government.

They don't even receive money from the State - yet...

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Although it shouldn't discourage those who just use foot travel to access caches located on game lands, there are many who would rather bike the ones that are located along geotrails that utilize existing trails designated for bicycles as well as foot travel. I also suspect that many of the cache owners use bicycles to place and maintain these geotrails and the new requirements may discourage many from placing such geotrails in the first place and from properly maintaining the trails they already have established.

 

So your major concern with this proposal is its effect on geotrails? You have already lost my support. Anything that discourages geotrails anywhere can't be all bad. I have several PA State Game Land hides. This proposal will not affect me, or any of my hides ... yet. Give them time. The last PA Hunting License I bought was a long time ago. Where I go, I don't see (or use) bicycles in PA SGL's. I see darn few horses, and most of them were OFF TRAIL doing Fox Hunt training. I have seen a few illegal ATV's, going out of their way to spin and slide the tires to effect maximum trail damage. And the under age Beer drinkers won't be buying any permits. A few Non-Hunter users make it bad for all of us.

 

The Hunters themselves are the worst litter offenders, but they are paying for the "privilege". And you do have to get off the bike trails to see that. I think a Non-Hunter use permit is a good idea (for ALL Non-Hunting uses), but with a much lower (single digit?) fee. It should be available instantly online, and should be the same fee for ADULT residents and non-residents. I have zero hope they will adopt my vision. Lets see what they do adopt.

  • Upvote 1
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So your major concern with this proposal is its effect on geotrails? You have already lost my support. Anything that discourages geotrails anywhere can't be all bad. I have several PA State Game Land hides. This proposal will not affect me, or any of my hides ... yet. Give them time. The last PA Hunting License I bought was a long time ago. Where I go, I don't see (or use) bicycles in PA SGL's. I see darn few horses, and most of them were OFF TRAIL doing Fox Hunt training. I have seen a few illegal ATV's, going out of their way to spin and slide the tires to effect maximum trail damage. And the under age Beer drinkers won't be buying any permits. A few Non-Hunter users make it bad for all of us.

 

The Hunters themselves are the worst litter offenders, but they are paying for the "privilege". And you do have to get off the bike trails to see that. I think a Non-Hunter use permit is a good idea (for ALL Non-Hunting uses), but with a much lower (single digit?) fee. It should be available instantly online, and should be the same fee for ADULT residents and non-residents. I have zero hope they will adopt my vision. Lets see what they do adopt.

 

I agree.......

 

I remember, was it last year or 2 years ago they were talking about opening up hunting on Sundays? I'm not sure where that idea went.... but .... If they're gonna charge non-hunters a fee - they better keep Sunday as a non-hunting day. I'd consider it 'unfair' to non-hunters (paying the fee) to not have that FREE day. Even on Sundays, I wear blaze orange because there's always someone in the woods firing off rounds.

 

What do all the hunters feel about this? I've heard that some hunters disagree with this fee because it might allow non-hunters a political voice in what occurs with the land and that things are running smoothly - why change it?

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The game commission reps have stated that the permit fee would be more expensive than just purchasing a hunting license, In part so as to increase hunting license sales which somehow equates to more revenue coming in to the game commission from the Federal Government.

The permit fee, I suppose, will be the same thirty bucks they now charge non-hunters for use of the rifle ranges.

Please tell me where you got the idea that the Game Commission gets any monies from the Federal Government.

They don't even receive money from the State - yet...

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The Federally enacted Pittman- Robertson Act ( an 11% tax on firearms and ammunition) of 1937 uses a formula taking into consideration a state's area and the number of licensed hunters in a state when distributing monies collected under the act to each state's game commission . Therefore, the more licenses sold, the more money for the PA Game Commission. Selling just a use permit will not increase their slice of the Pittman- Robertson pie, increased numbers of licensed hunters will.

 

See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittman–Robertson_Federal_Aid_in_Wildlife_Restoration_Act

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The Federally enacted Pittman- Robertson Act ( an 11% tax on firearms and ammunition) of 1937 uses a formula taking into consideration a state's area and the number of licensed hunters in a state when distributing monies collected under the act to each state's game commission . Therefore, the more licenses sold, the more money for the PA Game Commission. Selling just a use permit will not increase their slice of the Pittman- Robertson pie, increased numbers of licensed hunters will.

 

See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittman–Robertson_Federal_Aid_in_Wildlife_Restoration_Act

A percentage of 11% of sales is what you're basing it on?.

- Note that the money never reaches the U.S. Treasury, but is kept separate and is given to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute a percentage of that percentage to the States.

It's an excise tax on guns and ammunition, not funding from the Government...

The amount each State receives is based on Hunting licenses, but it's a stretch to believe the Game Commission plans to use this new fee to garner more licenses to wrangle a larger chunk. Small potatoes.

Further, the States don't just "get a check" from that tax, but must come up with a plan for wildlife use, spend their own money and if it's deemed okay from the Secretary, the State gets up to 75% of their money spent back.

- Not the big cash cow you imagined I bet.

 

From the PA Game Commission :

"Funded primarily by hunting and furtaker license sales; State Game Lands timber, mineral and oil/gas revenues; and a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition; the Commission is almost entirely supported by hunters and trappers, or assets that have been procured with license dollars. The Commission does not receive state General Fund appropriations. More than half its annual revenue comes from license sales, a relatively fixed income source."

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So your major concern with this proposal is its effect on geotrails? You have already lost my support. Anything that discourages geotrails anywhere can't be all bad. I have several PA State Game Land hides. This proposal will not affect me, or any of my hides ... yet. Give them time. The last PA Hunting License I bought was a long time ago. Where I go, I don't see (or use) bicycles in PA SGL's. I see darn few horses, and most of them were OFF TRAIL doing Fox Hunt training. I have seen a few illegal ATV's, going out of their way to spin and slide the tires to effect maximum trail damage. And the under age Beer drinkers won't be buying any permits. A few Non-Hunter users make it bad for all of us.

 

The Hunters themselves are the worst litter offenders, but they are paying for the "privilege". And you do have to get off the bike trails to see that. I think a Non-Hunter use permit is a good idea (for ALL Non-Hunting uses), but with a much lower (single digit?) fee. It should be available instantly online, and should be the same fee for ADULT residents and non-residents. I have zero hope they will adopt my vision. Lets see what they do adopt.

 

I agree.......

 

I remember, was it last year or 2 years ago they were talking about opening up hunting on Sundays? I'm not sure where that idea went.... but .... If they're gonna charge non-hunters a fee - they better keep Sunday as a non-hunting day. I'd consider it 'unfair' to non-hunters (paying the fee) to not have that FREE day. Even on Sundays, I wear blaze orange because there's always someone in the woods firing off rounds.

 

What do all the hunters feel about this? I've heard that some hunters disagree with this fee because it might allow non-hunters a political voice in what occurs with the land and that things are running smoothly - why change it?

You should wear blaze orange because it's asked of you.

Didn't you ever read the signs, "Hunters wear orange, so should you"?

If you cache in game lands, they're in every parking lot.

 

Sunday hunting has been going on since I was a teen (the Dead Sea was just sick).

- Every year someone tries to get deer season added with crow, coyote and fox for Sunday hunting.

That may be what you're getting confused over, as each time the subject of game lands comes up here, you seem to forget that hunting is allowed on Sunday.

 

Political voice? How many geocachers are there in the State?

Now, how many hunters?

Good luck with that...

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I am moving this topic of regional interest from the Geocaching Topics forum to the Northeast forum.

 

In passing, I note that the PA Game Commission has an excellent relationship with geocachers, thanks in part to all the hiders who consult with Game Commission officials on good placement ideas, work on CITO events to clean up the game lands, etc. Keep up that great work! And, if you own a cache on an SGL, be sure to include a note on the cache page to follow all the applicable regulations - including the requirement to wear orange clothing in deer season.

 

We (the PA Volunteer Cache Reviewers) have heard nothing official about any changes regarding geocaches on Game Lands -- just rumors.

  • Upvote 1
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We've been lucky that the game lands (the State's largest landowner) have been free for us to play.

Right now, I'm happy they're only thinking of going after the ones who create the damage to trails.

Fat chance they'll catch the ATVers...

There is a Link for the range fee. It's the same for residents and non-residents. The set-up requires you to print it out at home.

- So I imagine they'd have something similar if this goes through.

But almost ten bucks cheaper for the year, a resident license can be done at Dicks and even kmart with just a card-swipe now. :)

Non-residents would be better off with the permit, as it's over a hundred bucks for a NR hunting license.

 

But for now, if this goes through, this only would affect those who bike, snowmobile or ride horses on designated trails within game lands.

- Unless someone makes a fuss, mails their congressman, leaves comments to remind them of another possible impact to the areas,...

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You should wear blaze orange because it's asked of you.

Didn't you ever read the signs, "Hunters wear orange, so should you"?

If you cache in game lands, they're in every parking lot.

 

Sunday hunting has been going on since I was a teen (the Dead Sea was just sick).

- Every year someone tries to get deer season added with crow, coyote and fox for Sunday hunting.

That may be what you're getting confused over, as each time the subject of game lands comes up here, you seem to forget that hunting is allowed on Sunday.

 

Political voice? How many geocachers are there in the State?

Now, how many hunters?

Good luck with that...

 

There's a lot more non-hunters using game lands than just geocachers.

 

Ok....to look at it a different way: Fishing & Boating/licenses etc. When will the state start charging a fee to non-fisherman or non-boaters to enjoy the act of swimming in our creeks, lakes, & ponds? Same idea...

Edited by Lieblweb
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You should wear blaze orange because it's asked of you.

Didn't you ever read the signs, "Hunters wear orange, so should you"?

If you cache in game lands, they're in every parking lot.

 

Sunday hunting has been going on since I was a teen (the Dead Sea was just sick).

- Every year someone tries to get deer season added with crow, coyote and fox for Sunday hunting.

That may be what you're getting confused over, as each time the subject of game lands comes up here, you seem to forget that hunting is allowed on Sunday.

 

Political voice? How many geocachers are there in the State?

Now, how many hunters?

Good luck with that...

 

There's a lot more non-hunters using game lands than just geocachers.

 

Ok....to look at it a different way: Fishing & Boating/licenses etc. When will the state start charging a fee to non-fisherman or non-boaters to enjoy the act of swimming in our creeks, lakes, & ponds? Same idea...

You could line up every hiker, cacher, bird watcher - you name it and they still wouldn't come close to hunter numbers.

We're second in the US for hunter population, next to Texas.

 

I'm not following you with the fish commission analogy.

The game commission owns it's properties.

The majority of waterways aren't owned by the fish commission.

Edited by cerberus1
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It's definitely not chump change we are talking about here. Page 109 of the PA Game Commission's annual report for 2013 :

 

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1396620/2013_pgc_annual__legislative_report_pdf

 

Grant money from Pittman - Robertson totaled $19,600,000 with over 22 million total grant money if other grant sources are included. Grant income is the PA Game Commissions second largest source of funds next to sales of hunting licenses with timber sales a distant third. The excise tax you refer to is a Federal Tax collected and controlled by the Federal government and meted out to the states through the Federal Department of the interior. The tax burden falls on anyone who purchases firearms or ammunition and therefore does not rely on hunters alone.

 

The real question to ask here is why else would the Game Commission set the permit fee greater than the fee for obtaining a hunting license? With the permit., you don't get all the privileges that a hunting license conveys so shouldn't it be less? No, there's got to be a motive behind their proposed pricing differential. I'm sure the Commission's accountants have run the numbers and come up with a plan that best benefits their bottom line which has been adversely impacted for a long time by decreasing license sales. Anything that increases license sales ( or slows their decline )will make their financial situation better and the method of determining grants used by Pittman-Robertson provides an extra incentive to increase those sales.

 

The sad thing is any increased license sales of hunting licenses due to this permit pricing policy is really just a sham as you really aren't adding more hunters to the state's ranks but rather people holding hunting licenses that have absolutely no intention of using it to hunt. Many probably have never owned a gun or purchased ammunition. It's like every other tax out there. If you get the lawyers and accountants together, they can always come up with a scheme to benefit there client that skirts the intent of the law. The PA Game Commission will benefit in the short term at the expense of the other 49 state's share of the Pittman-Robertson pie. It won't take them long to adopt similar schemes however once they see the impact on their revenues and decide to "inflate" their license sales. Then we'll be right back where we started. We'll just be paying more for the privilege with no perceptible increase in benefits.

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Would this permit still be required to bike/ride horses/snowmobile on Sundays when hunting is prohibited?

Yep. It's an, "other use" fee, similar to the one already in place at G.C.-owned rifle ranges.

 

Edited to add...

Many who come to this State (and some who live here...) forget that in PA, coyotes, foxes and crows can be hunted on Sundays, pretty-much year-round, except during the two-week rifled deer Season.

 

Interesting... as a fairly regular visitor to PA I didn't know that.

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I' m not sure most of you are considering the negative effects the establishment of this permit system could have on our activity. Yes, I agree that the PGC has been geocache friendly by and large, but regardless of this I think it will only reduce the geocaching opportunities available to us in the game lands. Just consider one geocache that I recently found . It was the final for the Pennsylvania Delorme Challenge and was located in one of the game lands in the state which shall remain nameless as the CO's don't want this information released. Any way, this challenge cache was very difficult to qualify for and the CO's wanted a challenging final as befitted the challenge. So, they placed the final in a location that requires approximately 15 miles of non-motorized travel (read that as hike it or bike it) from the parking lot to the cache and back. There is simply no possible way to shorten the distance you have to travel to get the final unless you parachute to it. If you read the logs, you will see that many people took the entire day to do this one cache. Even with a bike this is a 3 to 4 hour round trip. Now consider the poor guy who has the job of maintaining the cache if it needs maintenance. I would think that he would have the common sense to bike to the cache to do this but if he isn't,t a hunter, is he going to be willing to shell out $30 just so he can maintain this cache? And this cache has been around for a long time and he would need a new $30 permit every year he finds a need to visit the cache. Up to this point any needed maintenance has only cost him his time and a little gas. And then, consider the affect on the geocacher who wants to take on this challenge. Imagine that it is a husband and wife team. Once they discover where they have to go for the final, maybe they don't feel they can walk that far, or that they can go out and get back before darkness sets in. Bicycling looks like the only alternative but will they be willing to pay the $60 fee for their 2 permits? I would hope that the CO's would give out a little more information regarding the final location (including the info that it may cost anyone choosing to bike to it $ to go for the final)if this permit system goes through so that people can decide if they want to get involved in the challenge in the first place. I know for a fact, that we spent well over $1000 on travel, hotel and meal expenses in just qualifying to go find and log the final. There is a limit to how much more geocachers are going to be willing to spend on their activity. The end result of course will be fewer Cachers taking on these challenges, fewer dollars being spent in the state ( the law of unintended consequences) and caches similar to this one going begging for people willing to invest the extra time and effort it will take to get them. There are presently many other caches in the game lands throughout the state that that involve similar distances and the same considerations regarding maintenance. I feel we will see many of these caches disappear if the CO' s find that they have to pay the PGC for the privilege of maintaining their cache or Geotrail . I just don't feel that this permit system can have any beneficial effects on geocaching and therefore I hope that it is never enacted.

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Hello from one of the co-owners of the Pennsylvania DeLorme Challenge and the Pennsylvania All Counties Challenge. You chose a bad example. Both challenge caches were placed by hiking, not by using the "Designated Rider" routes in the State Game Lands where they are hidden. Both caches have gone missing once in their long lives, after being found by hunters. Both were replaced promptly with new ammo cans. All maintenance trips have been done on foot.

 

The DeLorme Challenge is rated four stars for terrain, and we meant it. Quoting from the cache listing:

The terrain rating and attributes apply to the final cache location, and more details will be provided when you become eligible to seek the final cache. We guarantee you that it will be a strenuous hike. Early finders report hiking for 5 or 6 hours to find the cache and return to their car. If you have concerns about your physical ability to complete this hike, please contact us with details and we will provide hints on the relative difficulty of the different approach routes.

 

There is nothing on either cache listing suggesting the use of bicycles, horses, etc. So, the proposed fee for those activities would not affect us as owners of these challenge caches. It would also not affect the four other caches I own under my player account in PA State Game Lands, none of which can be reached by bicycle.

  • Upvote 1
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It's definitely not chump change we are talking about here. Page 109 of the PA Game Commission's annual report for 2013 :

 

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1396620/2013_pgc_annual__legislative_report_pdf

 

Grant money from Pittman - Robertson totaled $19,600,000 with over 22 million total grant money if other grant sources are included. Grant income is the PA Game Commissions second largest source of funds next to sales of hunting licenses with timber sales a distant third. The excise tax you refer to is a Federal Tax collected and controlled by the Federal government and meted out to the states through the Federal Department of the interior. The tax burden falls on anyone who purchases firearms or ammunition and therefore does not rely on hunters alone.

Hopefully it's not just me...

 

Send me dollars and I'll give you "up to" seventy-five cents in exchange for each dollar you send.

- Let me know when you've made a decent profit. :)

 

P-R is used to help recoup some money spent on programs, not add revenue.

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- snip -

the Pennsylvania Delorme Challenge

 

- snip -

 

I know for a fact, that we spent well over $1000 on travel, hotel and meal expenses in just qualifying to go find and log the final.

I believe it. When we first attempted, with gas a decent price, we were already beyond that.

We gave up when costs and time no longer allowed us to finish.

- After a couple grand in costs to complete this challenge today, I'm not so sure someone would be hesitant to cough up thirty bucks (or buy a license) to finish it (if they wanted to go by bike).

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Well, looks like a bunch griped and yet another feasibility study had to be done.

Kinda figured this'd happen...

Listed it in full so no errors.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BUREAU OF WILDLIFE HABITAT MANAGEMENT

PROPOSED RULE MAKING

A. Amend 58 Pa. Code §§ 135.41 and create Chapter 147, Subchapter AA.

Commentary: At the Board of Commissioners meeting conducted on June 10, 2014, the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management was directed to study the feasibility of the Game Commission enacting a permit requirement for all game lands secondary users who are not currently in possession of a valid hunting or furtaking license. At the Commissioner’s Working Group Meeting on August 11, 2014, a briefing and recommendation was presented by the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management to require the permit for those individuals that were utilizing designated trails on State Game Lands for the purpose of bicycling, horseback riding and snowmobiling. At the Commission Meeting on September 23, the proposed rulemaking was tabled to allow for additional input from Commission Staff. Based on those staff discussions and the public comments received and in order to manage the game lands for its intended uses, the following proposed rulemaking is being offered for Board consideration. This proposal allows the agency to disseminate information to the secondary users of game lands that do not purchase a hunting or furtaking license (and therefore do not receive the annual hunting and trapping digest) and to collect information from these individuals to further protect and enhance the primary purposes of hunting, trapping, and wildlife management on game lands.

CHAPTER 135. LANDS AND BUILDINGS

Subchapter C. STATE GAME LANDS

§ 135.41. State game lands.

* * * * *

© Additional prohibitions. In addition to the prohibitions contained in the act pertaining to State game lands and § 135.2, except with the written permission of the Director, it is unlawful to:

* * * * *

(5) [Ride] Hike on foot or ride a nonmotorized vehicle, conveyance or animal from the last Saturday in September until the third Saturday in January, and [before 1 p.m.] from the second Saturday in April through [the last Saturday in May] Memorial Day inclusive, except on Sundays or while lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping or fishing.

* * * * *

38

(23) Ride on designated bike trails, snowmobile trails or horse trails or hike on foot on any lands or waters designated as State game lands, unless the person is in possession of a valid hunting or furtaker license or a valid SGL permit signed by its holder. This provision shall not be construed to apply to:

(i) Persons 15 years of age or younger or up to one person accompanying another person in possession of a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaking license or a Commission-issued trail permit.

(ii) Persons using the Appalachian Trail, Laurel Highlands Trail, Horse-Shoe Trail, rails-to-trails or other trails on State game lands under current written agreement or other formal legal authorization permitting such use.

CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS

Subchapter AA. STATE GAME LANDS TRAIL PERMIT

§ 147.1021. Purpose and scope.

This subchapter provides for trail permits to be issued to eligible persons to authorize their holders to ride on designated bike trails, snowmobile trails or horse trails or hike on foot on lands and waters designated as State game lands.

§ 147.1022. Eligibility and application.

(a) Trail permits will only be issued to persons 16 years of age or older who do not possess a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license.

(B) Applications for trail permits issued under this subchapter shall be made on a form provided by the Commission.

© Applications must include the name and contact information of the permit applicant.

(d) There is no fee for a trail permit.

§ 147.1023. Trail permit.

(a) A trail permit issued under this subchapter authorizes the permittee to ride on designated bike trails, snowmobile trails or horse trails or hike on foot on lands and waters designated as State game lands.

(B) Permittees shall utilize designated bike trails, snowmobile trails or horse trails or hike on foot on lands and waters designated as State game lands in a manner consistent

39

with applicable requirements, conditions and restrictions provided for in the act and §§ 135.2 and 135.41 (relating to unlawful actions and State game lands).

§ 147.687. Sunset clause.

The provisions of this subchapter shall become effective July 1, 2015 and shall expire and be rendered void on June 30, 2018, unless the Commission further authorizes their legal effectiveness prior to this termination date.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, if things aren't straightened out on the Jan 27th meeting, no one's on game lands but hunters (except Sunday with a permit) during the entire main season (around 130 days), unless like CJ and I, you mix caching with hunting.

Or maybe we'll be required to disable them during that time frame.

- But you got your free permits though...

Sheesh.

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Wow. I section hike the AT across PA. Parked at the nearest road, hiked up to the trail, and did my section (six to eight miles) and hiked back to the car. Guess I couldn't do that anymore!

I've always wondered why anyone would hunt deer on the old AT section at Lehigh Gap. That section was so polluted by the zinc smelters at Palmerton that you could not drink the water. Who would want a deer that lived there?

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Wow. I section hike the AT across PA. Parked at the nearest road, hiked up to the trail, and did my section (six to eight miles) and hiked back to the car. Guess I couldn't do that anymore!

I've always wondered why anyone would hunt deer on the old AT section at Lehigh Gap. That section was so polluted by the zinc smelters at Palmerton that you could not drink the water. Who would want a deer that lived there?

:laughing:

This should be interesting.

All because entitled folks who disregarded rules earlier to stay on trails designated for other uses, and those who created additional monies to fix those trails (atvs mostly, I bet) didn't do their research to find that their tax dollars had nothing to do at all with their years of free access.

- Now if it goes through, they can't go on them at all (but Sunday, w/ a permit) for almost a third of the year.

 

Off Topic...

BTW, have you seen the Lehigh section lately?

CJ and I were on trail (no warning post entering) when we had jello-like goop thrown down upon us from above. We got slimed !!! :D

We hid under a huge pine for an extended lunch.

Turned out to be seeds in what looked like a frog's eggmass stucked to everything.

The trails starting to take on a new appearance.

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Not sure what my feeling is about the game lands charging the permit fee's. I have never been on one other than the one that borders my parents property in elk country PA (actually a cache on their private land listed as being in the game lands but no where near it). I guess we pay to enter certain parks and they sometimes charge 15 or more dollars each visit to "maintain themselves" but they at least have amenities and usually some sort of attractions. Game lands are just open space, right, nothing else there? I guess if it keeps to property available to all of us (I do not hunt) great! Rather that than another tract-home development.

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Not sure what my feeling is about the game lands charging the permit fee's. I have never been on one other than the one that borders my parents property in elk country PA (actually a cache on their private land listed as being in the game lands but no where near it). I guess we pay to enter certain parks and they sometimes charge 15 or more dollars each visit to "maintain themselves" but they at least have amenities and usually some sort of attractions. Game lands are just open space, right, nothing else there? I guess if it keeps to property available to all of us (I do not hunt) great! Rather that than another tract-home development.

The State gave their updated opinion on the latest feasibility study, and I included it in post 23.

There isn't a fee.

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Ok, missed that in the smiley legal speak! LOL... I see then no fee but still a permit? Now that just seems wasteful and another form of governmental glut because I am sure they will now need to spend more money and have a person to manage the permits! LOL

If it's anything like our hunting or fishing licenses, it'll simply be a stop at K or Wal mart.

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Ok, missed that in the smiley legal speak! LOL... I see then no fee but still a permit? Now that just seems wasteful and another form of governmental glut because I am sure they will now need to spend more money and have a person to manage the permits! LOL

If it's anything like our hunting or fishing licenses, it'll simply be a stop at K or Wal mart.

 

Yeah, very well could be. I do think it would make my life easier this way... Even know it would require a walk into the dreaded Wally World!!

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If you guys think that they are going to issue these permits at Walmart, think again. Retail establishments that process hunting licenses get a fee for every one they issue, including Walmart. The Game Commission will have to pay them to do this job for them and they're not going to do that for a permit they don't charge for. If this proposed permit is going to be free as they are saying, then it is only going to be issued at game commission offices and maybe some other state agencies/state parks and courthouses and you know that means obtaining them on weekends, holidays and evenings will be difficult if not impossible. They could do it through a website but if so I bet they'll charge a "convenience " fee for their so-called "free" permit.

Another thing yet to be divulged is whether you are going to have to get a new permit every year or will one permit suffice for a lifetime. I can't for the life of me see any logical reason why one permit couldn't be good for life, unless the intended purpose of the permit system is to discourage human activity in the Game Lands by non-hunters by throwing as many obstacles in their path as possible and making them jump through hoops every year to obtain one. If they made it a lifetime permit, that also would reduce any future revenues they are probably anticipating down the line when they regretfully inform us that "due to factors out of their control",they are going have to start charging a fee for the permit.

Also, there's another revenue angle. If enacted, the Game Commission Officers can start citing anyone they find on the gamelands without the needed permit and I haven't heard what the amount of the fine will be but I bet it won't be cheap. Maybe they feel the fine income will be even better than the $30 permit they were championing last September on bicycle and horse riders. I'd also like to know if they are going to fine me, a holder of a lifetime hunting license, if they find me out on the gamelands geocaching during hunting season (not on a Sunday) and I am not carrying a firearm or bow. Are they going to cite me too since obviously I was not "engaged in hunting"? Maybe all geocaching hunters will have to start packing heat as well as our GPS's when out in the woods. Or maybe you could just tell them you were "hunting" for the cache.

And when a hunter complains to you that the state gamelands were purchased by hunters, for hunters, be sure to remind him that anybody who has ever purchased a firearm, archery equipment, or ammunition in this country has helped purchase and maintain these lands through the taxes collected and dispersed through the Pittman-Robertson Act. Since there are lots of target shooters, archers, and firearms collectors that never have hunted and probably never will, don't these individuals deserve a say in the land use policies their tax dollars support?

 

Tyro

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Good points. I guess with that said the only logical reason to have a free permit is to use it as the camels nose... The camel gets its nose into the tent by having the permit and once people have excepted this as the new normal, a license to enjoy what is ours, then they throw the fee in since getting a permit with a fee did not go over well they'll just get one then the other a bit down the road.. Make it cheaper with increases over 5 years so next thing you know we are paying the $30 anyways.

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And when a hunter complains to you that the state gamelands were purchased by hunters, for hunters, be sure to remind him that anybody who has ever purchased a firearm, archery equipment, or ammunition in this country has helped purchase and maintain these lands through the taxes collected and dispersed through the Pittman-Robertson Act. Since there are lots of target shooters, archers, and firearms collectors that never have hunted and probably never will, don't these individuals deserve a say in the land use policies their tax dollars support?

I was right along on most parts until you started this again...

This simply does not work the way you imagine. Surprised you could possibly still believe that.

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I do believe that the Game Commission figured they'd make it a free permit, so when the very same people who were so vocal at the meetings about paying a fee for one don't have it, they're fined.

We hunt and fish, often while caching, so this fee thing isn't really an issue for us.

- What is an issue is if cachers have to temp disable hides for 130 days instead of just two weeks.

Congrats on that free permit...

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If you guys think that they are going to issue these permits at Walmart, think again. Retail establishments that process hunting licenses get a fee for every one they issue, including Walmart.

You're correct. .50 cents.

 

Or, the Game Commision might issue 'em through their web site, the same as they do the range permits. The range permits are good from July 1, to June 30th of the following year.

You'll need to access online and have a printer at home. I'd use Rite In Rain paper.

- Seems it'd be easier for them and us, to cough up fifty cents for a waterproof permit at a vendor, similar to our hunting licenses.

 

From their site: "Historically, hunter and furtaker license dollars have provided most, if not all, of the funding needed to keep the agency’s shooting ranges open to the public. But, in many cases, hunters and furtakers today are outnumbered on State Game Lands ranges by firearms enthusiasts who do not hunt or trap. The range permit fees ensure everyone who shoots at the agency’s ranges pays for their existence and operation. "

 

Again, it was the freeloaders who started this nonsense.

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A couple of hiking groups have posted that the issue has been tabled to a later date (again) from the meeting on Jan 27th.

If true, hopefully it's slated before their next scheduled meeting - in April.

Does say, "Note: The proposed State Game Lands Trail Permit and associated closures have been removed from the agenda." on the meeting agenda notes for the 27th.

Game Commission haven't posted their minutes yet, so can't get the straight skinny yet.

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I hike and backpack frequently on state game lands. You rarely see anybody out patrolling,so likely one could get away without paying the proposed fee. My home city,Philadelphia,tried imposing a yearly permit for equestrians and bikers in Fairmount park a few years back and it never went anywhere.

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I hike and backpack frequently on state game lands. You rarely see anybody out patrolling,so likely one could get away without paying the proposed fee. My home city,Philadelphia,tried imposing a yearly permit for equestrians and bikers in Fairmount park a few years back and it never went anywhere.

 

NOT true. You are required to have a permit to mountain bike or horseback ride on the upper trails of Wissahickon Valley Park and Pennypack Park (both part of the Fairmount Park system) Non residents pay $20/yr while residents are "encouraged" to pay the same. Regardless, if you don't have a permit the fine is $25.

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I found this string due to references to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. We would like to hide caches in the Park but see the directives to seek permission from landowners. Given the many, many caches already there, this seems to be OK but I wonder if anyone can confirm that the City doesn't care about caches or a contact if the City should be notified.

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I found this string due to references to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. We would like to hide caches in the Park but see the directives to seek permission from landowners. Given the many, many caches already there, this seems to be OK but I wonder if anyone can confirm that the City doesn't care about caches or a contact if the City should be notified.

Off-topic, but maybe I can help...

When you attempt to have a cache published, you check that you understand and abided by guidelines.

One is that you obtained permission.

It'd probably be a good idea to email one of the COs who have caches there, and ask whether they have a permit system, rules on placement, or a person to contact.

Since I don't know that area, a look at the Pennsylvania geocaching policies wiki may give you the info you need. :)

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33 minutes ago, edscott said:

Old topic but it is coming around again.  There is again talk of barring anyone that doesn't have a hunting license from hiking on PA Gamelands.   Applies year round regardless of hunting seasons.

 

Hi Ed !     Please explain.  A link would be nice.   Thanks. :)

The only two examples I'm aware of are Glen Onoko closed now, and Sunday hunting next year.

Knuckleheads were wearing sandals on a scree/boulder trail, and standing at falls edge, not realizing that "things float"... knocking them off, and got hurt.

Sunday hunting will be only three Sundays next season, one day for rifle season, one day for archery season, and one "open".

 

However,  Sunday hunting has gone on for years in PA game lands,  for coyotes, foxes and crows.

When I'm in game lands on Sundays, I'm usually multitasking...    

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As a Non PA resident i have no input on how the people of PA choose to administer and pay for upkeep of their publically owned lands. I only hope that if there is a permit required to use these land, they understand that not everybody using them is a PA resident. I would be truly disappointed and likely choose not to return if I were to enter the lands unknowingly to Geocache and be fined for my ignorance. One of the reasons I have not taken up the sport of hunting is because of the varied, complicated and overlapping rules regulating the activity in my home state. It is very likely I would miss an important rule and be in violation.

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8 hours ago, ras_oscar said:

 

As a Non PA resident i have no input on how the people of PA choose to administer and pay for upkeep of their publically owned lands. I only hope that if there is a permit required to use these land, they understand that not everybody using them is a PA resident. I would be truly disappointed and likely choose not to return if I were to enter the lands unknowingly to Geocache and be fined for my ignorance. One of the reasons I have not taken up the sport of hunting is because of the varied, complicated and overlapping rules regulating the activity in my home state. It is very likely I would miss an important rule and be in violation.

 

This thread is on PA Game Lands.  The largest land-owner in the state, game lands aren't "publicly owned". 

Monies are paid by hunter's licenses, gas/oil leases and logging.   No money comes from the general fund in taxes.

 - Yet they allow non-hunters to play on their properties for free...

 

Other than the two weeks of (rifle) deer hunting when no non-hunter is supposed to be there, there is no fee/permit for anyone to enter their properties.

Most people out of state cache in game lands on Sundays in the Winter, when hunter numbers are low.  Simple.

 - The warmer seasons are cached seven days a week (there may still be a hunter there...).

There are signs posted at parking explaining any "rules" they may have in place for that specific game lands area.  

All out of state folks we know went online to the game commission for information before they headed there.   :)

 

Recently, a local landmark was closed because people didn't dress accordingly, and/or lacked common sense and got hurt.

Hikers mailed the game commission and attended meetings, and asked why trails aren't fixed.

They were told "We're in the hunting business, not the hiking business".

 I don't believe they'd care if anyone returns.    :D

Edited by cerberus1
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