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I know this is somewhat off topic, but it is so important to get support
or no one will be riding trails in PA in the future. Below is a meesage
from Pete Johnson, Trail Chair for the Pennsylvania Equine Council, and
also an Ad Hoc member for the committee with the State Game Lands to
determine usage. I am also including the petitions, please print out,
sign name, address and send in to keep our lands open.
Greeting from Central Pa.,
As you all know by now there is a tremendous propaganda campaign being
waged by the PGC.  They have used miss-information to
cloud issues, legislation, and regulations.  The legislators are
confused, the hunters have no idea what's going on, the general public
isn't quite sure what's going on. Here"s what's happening: 
1.)  House Bill 2181 is stuck in committee in the House Tourism and
Recreational Development Committee. At this time there are
not enough votes to release from committee.  YOU need to contact ALL
members of this Committee - NOW!!!  You can get list on
line under pa government.  Robert Godshall is Chairman.
COMMENTS - HB 2181 may not be our answer in it's current form.  There
maybe amendments.  There maybe new legislation.
When the written transcripts of the House of Reps hearing on the HB2181
becomes available it will enlighten many people to PGC'S
2.)  Petition -  We are starting a petition that YOU must get involved
with.  Get it off the P.E.C. web page.  
3.)  Stick to the message of our cause.  "PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLIC
PROPERTY"  This fight is for all citizens of the
4.)  DO NOT give up.  Ask questions and demand answers.  I'm sending 11
questions you should ask everyone you talk to.  I can
tell you honestly that you have more information than most legislators.
5.) Talking to the Game Commission is a waste of time and energy. But
April 8thand 9th they have a public meeting.  WE WILL
SHOW UP!  You have a right to comment.  Rally in Harrisburg.
6.) There is a lot going on behind the scenes in Harrisburg. If it is
known that the "Problem" is not going away, then we may get
somewhere with the Legislators.
Think Spring,  Pete Johnson, State Trail Director
The recent request to change regulations on the Pennsylvania game lands
by Executive Director Vern Ross would create an exclusive 1.5 million
acre hunting preserve for less than 1% of Pennsylvania citizens. It
would be subsidized by all property tax payers to the amount of over

1) Are the Pennsylvania Game lands public property of the Commonwealth?

2) Why are the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Fish and Boat
Commission EXEMPT from the public review process of the Independent
Regulator Review Commission?

3) Where and when can the public find and review a copy of the 1999
Federal audit of the PGC that will show equestrians and mountain bike
riders as legal user groups on the game lands?

4) Where does all the money go that the Game Commission receives from
the sale of the publics' natural resources (timber, gas, coal, etc.),
and what is it being used for?

5) If only 40% of annual revenues by the PGC are from hunting licenses,
then how can the claim be made that the game lands belong to the

6) Where are the public records which prove that the PGC did a
scientific environmental impact study  to substantiate claims of
extensive damage to wildlife habitat by horsemen and mountain bike

7) Where can the public review land trades, conservation easements,
property acquisitions by the Game Commission, and what is the purpose of
more private land being taken off the tax rolls?

8) Why has the PGC stated that they will lose Pitman-Robinson funding,
if they do not eliminate outdoor recreation for the game lands? Most
other states do not have a Game Commission.  In these states, a
significant portion of the funds support a very broad out door
conservation program, while hunting is a secondary usage.

9) What process is currently in place to protect and defend the general
public against miss-information spread by a state Agency purposely for
their agenda?

10)  Why are the Game Commissioners a political appointment rather than
elected, and what decisive factors have to be met to be a Commissioner?

11)  What is wrong with the Pennsylvania Legislature that denial of the
public to public land is not being scrutinized and dealt with in
accordance the Constitution of Pennsylvania?

As a tax paying, voting citizen, I would greatly appreciate answers to
my questions and your thoughts.





January 16, 2002
Peter Johnson
Pennsylvania Equine Council
State Trail Chairman

Mr. Chairman, and members of the House Tourism and Recreational
Development Committee, thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB

The Pennsylvania Equine Council has been supportive of this committee
and it's efforts to represent all citizens of Pennsylvania.  As set
forth in the constitution of Pennsylvania, public lands shall be
conserved and maintained for all the people of the Commonwealth.  In
order for this to happen all State agencies over seeing public lands
must be joined together and their efforts orchestrated for all outdoor
recreation, including hunting.  We can not have several different
agencies blocking access of the general public for self proclaimed
reasons.  An Outdoor Recreation Czar position is needed in the State to
over see all agencies and represent all interests collectively.  Once
the state agencies are linked (Outdoor Recreation Czar), then efforts
can be made to link up with private lands such as gas pipe lines, power
lines, strip mines, timber lands, etc.  In this way a state wide network
of multi-user trails can be identified which will benefit all citizens. 
House Bill 2181 is just the beginning of what needs to be accomplished
for tourism and recreational development in the State.

Over the last year and a half the members of the Pennsylvania Equine
Council have tried to cooperate with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 
We share a common concern about the increased usage in specific game
lands, large group activities, commercial enterprises, safety issues,
and hunter-user conflicts. The Pennsylvania Equine Council  members
formed a state wide volunteer program called Guardians of the Game
Lands, participated in the Game Commission's Ad Hoc public input
committee, and visited their open houses across the state.  Our opinions
and concerns appear to be unappreciated by the Game Commission.

The issue before us today is not about hunting, trail damage, or an
equine conflict.  This House Bill is about access by the general public
to public property of the Commonwealth and the independent review of a
public agency similar to all other state agencies.  The first question
that must be addressed is whether or not the 1.4 million acres are
public property.  If these lands are public, then they should remain
open to all citizens.  If these lands are for hunting only, then the
Game Commission should pay full property taxes.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission over the last year appears to have
waged a professional propaganda campaign against horseback riders and
mountain bikers.  They have fabricated a crisis to create a smoke screen
to cloud the real issue at hand.  That is, the systematic elimination of
outdoor recreation users groups from public land all in the name of
habitat.  The Game Commission has presented you pictures of "trail
damage" to trails that don't exist (there are no multi-user trail
systems in place at this time).  A simple solution would be to re-route
people within the game lands on suitable trails where the heavy traffic
exists.  Unfortunately, to the Game Commission, a broken twig or a
single track down a log road is considered damage to the habitat.  The
horseback riders want to cooperate but there is no one at the Game
Commission who is currently willing to work with us.  House Bill 2181
must not only bring the Game Commission under review in a public
process, but must spell out in black and white their obligation to all
tax paying citizens of Pennsylvania.

The Game Commission is currently proposing new regulations and laws to
eliminate non-hunters from the game lands.  On one hand the Game
Commission asks private citizens to NOT POST their lands and cooperate
with hunters, while on the other hand the Game Commission wants to POST
the game lands to private citizens.  We don't need new regulations at
this time, but what we do need is cooperation with an agency willing to
find solutions.  We don't need new laws or regulations to paint trees
and put-up trail makers. 

In conclusion, Penn State University is now in the process of conducting
a state wide economic impact survey of the horse industry in
Pennsylvania.  This process will take a year or two, but we already know
that Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry with horses
(especially the back yard horse outdoor recreation person) making up a
significant portion.  This testimony is not intended to restrict,
hinder, or stop hunting and trapping activities in the Commonwealth as
portrayed by the Game Commission in the media in recent days.  It is
intended to place the spot light on a situation that needs to be
corrected now.

 Helga Loncosky
THE ARCHIVAL MORGAN RECORD--Registry for Foundation and Half-Morgans
Beacon Morgan Horses

The path of least resistance is what makes rivers and men crooked.

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
inside of a man"--Winston Churchill

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