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ANF proposes limiting some camping

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

Federal officials aim to restrict camping on a portion of Morrison Run in Mead Twp.

The land in question is the first mile of Morrison Run Rd. There are several dispersed camping sites along that stretch between the intersection with US 6 and the U.S. Forest Service boundary.

According to a statement from the Allegheny National Forest, the site “has a narrow strop of land that does not provide adequate parking to get vehicles safely off the road or the buffering of user impacts to the stream.”

Federal officials say that campers “frequently leave trash and human waste on site, negatively impacting water quality in Morrison RUn and the nearby Allegheny Wild and Scenic River.”

They also highlight a concern centered on “trampling of vegetation results in compaction of the soil and erosion into Morrison Run, also affecting the stream’s water quality.

“Prohibiting camping in this area will protect water quality, the soil, and vegetation in and along Morrison Run while enhancing opportunities for day use along the road,” the assert.

The change is open for public comments that can be sent via mail or fax to Bradford District Ranger Rich Hatfield or via email at comments-eastern-allegheny-bradford@usda.gov.

Comments can also be made by calling the Bradford Ranger District office.

The ANF announced a similar change on federal lands near the Town of Westline along Kinzua Creek at the Westline Ballfield.

“The open field is often wet and rutted from vehicles ‘mudding’ through the pooling water, damaging vegetation and soil structure. This field will be gated to vehicle traffic,” the ANF explained. Additionally, there is an “informal campsite… within 50 feet of Kinzua Creek at a popular swimming hole, which creates impacts to the water quality of the stream from trash and waste left behind. It also creates conflict between swimmers in the creek and campers at this site.”

Officials propose to remove the campsite by gating the access road.

That course will still permit walk-in use of the area.

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