HARRISBURG – Hunters heading into Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands this season will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“More than 400 miles of state forest roads normally open only for administrative use will be available to hunters in state forestlands this year,” DCNR Bureau of Forestry Director Daniel Devlin said. “We hope to improve accessibility while promoting hunting where it is needed to benefit forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem.”
More than 3,000 miles of state forest roadways are open during the state’s main archery season, which opens Saturday, Oct. 5, and closes Nov. 16. They will continue to stay open through the rest of the hunting seasons until January 2014.
“Whether their quarry is deer, bear or turkey, 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.
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 also is an option, giving hunters a backcountry camping or hunting experience. Camping permits, issued by the managing forest district, are required when camping on state forestlands.
Many of these campsites are close to state parks and forestlands enrolled in the Pennsylvania 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 northcentral areas of the state are reminded some hunting areas and travel routes may be impacted byMarcellus 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.
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 to allow only 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 will be opened only 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.
A complete listing of open roads, effective dates and district office telephone numbers can be obtained at www.dcnr.state.pa.us. Select Bureau of Forestry, then “White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania’s Forests.”
Marcellus Shale information can be found on the bureau page under “Natural Gas Drilling on State Forests.” Camping opportunities and details can be found on both the “Forestry” and “State Park” pages.