Pine Grove property sold to PGC for $53,000

The Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioners added some property in Warren County.

At its January meeting, the commissioners approved the purchase of 56 acres in Pine Grove Township adjacent to State Game Lands 282.

The parcel is largely composed of former oil fields, while 10 acres if forested with mixed hardwoods.

The commissioners approved paying a sale price of $53,000 for the property.

According to the release from the commissioners, those funds, and the dollars spent on a total of over 3,000 acres purchased at the meeting, come from “third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses that occurred on game lands from previously approved projects.”

The Game Commission, unlike state parks and forests, benefits from leases of oil and gas drilling beneath its lands. In 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf reinstated the ban on new leases beneath state parks and forests. The game commission is an independent administrative commission and the governor could not enforce that ban on the agency.

The commission collects payments from developers based on the acreage that is lost to habitat and recreation. One allowable use of those dollars is to buy land to compensate for the loss of acreage.

“The property is also located within the Akeley Swamp Important Bird Area,” according to a release from the commissioners.

The IBA program is administered by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society, according to the Warren County Natural Heritage Inventory. An IBA is “a site that is part of a global network of places recognized for their outstanding value to bird conservation.”

Other business

The commissioners will accept public comment regarding a proposal to allow semiautomatic rifles for big game in the 2019-2020 license year.

Comments will be accepted by email to pgccomments@pa.gov through the commissioners’ next meeting on April 9.

If they give preliminary approval to the motion in April, it would go to a final vote in July.

Rules regarding the wearing of fluorescent orange while hunting may be simplified.

The commissioners are considering eliminating fluorescent orange requirements while archery hunting for bear or deer and for fall turkey hunting.

All other seasons would keep the existing requirements. “The changes are intended to clear up the complexity of existing fluorescent orange requirements,” according to the release.

There is now a mentored hunting program for hunters of all ages. The commissioners approved a measure that includes youth under 17 years of age in the mentored youth program.

“Under the previous framework, there was no opportunity for those 12 to 17 to participate in a mentored program,” according to the release.