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Re: PA Gamelands to Restrict Horseback Riding! It's Official!

I realize it is safer for recreational folks to be out of the area during
hunting season.  However, I believe the real reason hunting takes precedence
is that hunters pay MONEY to the government for licenses, and that makes
hunters a higher priority than riders.  It's a similar situation around our
area, only it's about fish.  We ranchers are prevented doing anything that
might be perceived as threatening to the fish population in the creeks, yet
fishermen (who buy licenses) go to the sea in droves and catch lots of
salmon during season.  Then there are less salmon to come upstream to spawn.
But anyone who disturbs the creek habitat is to blame, not the fishermen who
take them from the sea.  Sigh......


----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 10:44 AM
Subject: RC: PA Gamelands to Restrict Horseback Riding! It's Official!

> Diane Nelson
> Please send to everyone who might be affected
> Game Commission to limit horse riding, biking on game lands
> By Timothy D. May
> The Associated Press
> HARRISBURG -- Mountain bikers and horse riders would be prohibited from
> using Pennsylvania's 1.4 million acres of game lands during spring and
> winter hunting seasons under new rules given preliminary approval by state
> game officials Tuesday.
> The recommended changes, approved unanimously by the state Game
> Commission, come after a yearlong review process that included public
> hearings and input from an advisory committee comprising members of
> biking, equestrian, hunting and tourism groups.
> "It's not only about environmental concerns, it's also about ensuring that
> hunters and non-hunters are not competing," said Jerry Feaser, a spokesman
> for the commission. Feaser said sensitive animal habitats can be disturbed
> by the growing number of recreational users.
> Some mountain bikers and horse riders say they are upset by the proposed
> changes, which also would confine them to riding on designated public
> routes, such as fire and access roads, in game lands.
> "Now, you really are denied access to any trail system" inside game lands,
> said Tim Cusick, Pennsylvania state representative for the International
> Mountain Biking Association.
> "I'm up in arms about this, and I think everybody else is, too," said Mary
> Lou Patton, a horse rider who lives near a state game land in Washington
> County. Patton, 63, said she rides an unofficial network of deer trails
> there, and that she and fellow riders routinely help the commission with
> rubbish removal and maintenance of the land.
> "Where am I going to ride, now?" she said.
> The proposed rules would ban mountain bikers and horse riders from using
> game lands from the second Saturday of September until the third Saturday
> of January -- from the start of small game hunting season until the end of
> the archery and muzzle loading deer seasons -- except on Sundays, when
> hunting is prohibited. The same restriction would apply during spring
> turkey season, which runs from the second Saturday in April through the
> last Saturday in May, except on Sundays.
> Currently, there are no regulations limiting riding by bikers or
> equestrians on game lands, and members of both recreational groups said
> they support legislation introduced in the state House of Representatives
> that would force the commission to submit any such changes to an
> independent regulatory review agency for approval. A hearing on that
> proposal is scheduled Wednesday before the House Tourism and Recreational
> Development Committee.
> The state, which bought its first piece of game land in 1920, now owns
> more than 300 separate game areas in 65 of 67 counties statewide.
> Officials say the lands were purchased primarily with money from hunting
> licenses and a tax on sporting equipment and ammunition, and that they
> were created for hunting and wildlife.
> +
> __________________________________
> This will effectively close down all endurance and CTR rides in
> the state of PA.  For us it will mean the total, absolute,
> complete end of trail riding as the gamelands are the only
> trails avaialble to us without trailering 4 hours to state
> forest lands.
> This happened because the Game Commission is an independent
> agency without oversight.  We MIGHT be able to change this IF
> you flood your Harrisburg state representatives with letters,
> faxes and emails.
> Do it NOW.  Tomorrow is too late.
> Diane Nelson
> across from SGL with no alternate trails
> Allentown, PA
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