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User-permits for biking (horseback riding, snowmobiling) in Game Lands?

(Harrisburg) Patriot News: "Fee for those on bicycle, horseback and snowmobile on state game lands considered by Pennsylvania Game Commission"
A variation on the idea of requiring a permit of non-hunting/non-trapping users of state game lands will be considered once again at the Sept. 22-23 meeting of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. Other, broader versions of similar plans have fallen to outpourings of negative public opinion previously. This time around commissioners will be considering a plan to sell user permits only to those older than 16 riding bicycles, horses or snowmobiles on trails on game lands. Hikers, birders and other "low-impact" users, as well as those already buying hunting or furtaking licenses, would not need the new permits to continue using game lands.
2014-09-17 16:16:12
(Not a lot of SGLs in this area, but still seems worth paying attention to.)
2014-09-17 16:16:42
There was a heated discussion on the PTAG Facebook page about this.
2014-09-17 16:20:57
Sounds like a great idea, if you want to get shot! All I need is to put myself into the woods with a bunch of bike hater yinzers who drove their pickup trucks to camp, got drunk for 3 days, and are stumbling through the woods with high powered rifles. No thanks.
2014-09-18 05:05:00
PA hunting license buys and maintains thousands of acres of State game lands they want non hunters to chip in
2014-09-18 05:40:03
ericf - my nearest mountain biking destination is Bavington, and it's fantastic, and it's a SGL. But that's precisely why I will only go on Sunday, a non-hunting day. I consider proposals to allow Sunday hunting to be a greater threat than a small yearly fee. However, parts of trails such as the GAP pass through small sections of SGL's, and it would be ludicrous to require trail riders to pay a fee to pass through these limited sections (like a shrubbery, for instance). Established multi-use trails need to be kept exempt from this, if it goes forward at all.
2014-09-18 07:16:19
2014-09-18 08:14:34
Yeah, I guess the game commission would prefer to maintain the trails in Bavington instead of the mountain bikers. Sure, go for it. If I'm paying for access, they better damn well take care of the trails instead of relying on volunteers to do it for them.
2014-09-18 10:11:34
What I'd like to know is how the gamelands are funded and where the money collected for a hunting license goes... If a proportion of the hunting license money goes to maintaining the lands themselves (not paying for hunting-specific things unrelated to cycling like game wardens, stocking lakes with fish, etc). then I could see paying the same amount which would be proportional to what hunters pay and it would also end up being a smaller amount than being licensed to hunt. What I suspect is that very little from the licensing fee actually goes to maintaining the lands, so that advertising a fee for mountain bikers to "pay their fair share" is actually unfounded. Odds are, we already pay our fair share through some other type of tax. I don't know, it depends on how these lands are funded. I have an acquaintance that is a warden, I'll probe his mind next time we run into each other. Personally, I ride in state game lands all the time. I haven't hunted in years but if a fee was incorporated for riding, I'd probably just grab a hunting license if that covered both. Most hunters are friendly to cyclists in the woods and sober, in my experience. Hell, in some cases you are doing them a favor if you chase some wildlife out to them. That said, I wear orange. I also don't ride during turkey and deer seasons. I'm not really worried about someone mistaking me for small game. That said, some watery tart did lob a sword at me once.
2014-09-18 11:01:54
Oh... those "mountain bikers" (which are most likely local kids with walmart bikes... I know I was once guilty of such behavior although I was more likely to be on a dirtbike) All the adult mountain bikers that I know have plenty of state park lands where they have permission to build trails and bumps and obstacles and wouldn't waste time on some other property where they don't have explicit permission...
2014-09-24 23:58:12
Or we could properly fund the parks system in the first place, and not have to rely on user fees for every damned thing.
2014-09-25 06:40:13
There are adult MTB riders on $4k full suspension bikes who like to build illegal trails with man made 'features' because it's hard to get trails like this built legally. They want their man made drops, gaps, berms, rock gardens, technical features and such. IMBA, PTAG, and other trail advocacy groups actively discourage this because it negatively affects the image of mountain bikers as a whole. This is one of those cases where that image causes problems.
2014-09-25 13:31:56