Pennsylvania Game Commission News

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has approved exchanging 948 acres of State Game Lands 176 in Patton Township, Centre County, with Penn State University for $8.2 million worth of properties suitable for wildlife habitat and public hunting and trapping. Under the agreement, the first parcel to be acquired is a 3,350-acre Clearfield County tract that has been stalled for two years.
“By approving this land exchange, the Board has increased the agency’s land acquisition resources by 300 percent, and has saved a previously approved land purchase that was in danger of being cancelled,” said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. In the 2002-2003 fiscal budget, the Game Commission has allocated slightly more than $2.1 million for land acquisition in a total budget of $68.4 million.
For the past 32 years, Penn State University has had a lease/easement agreement with the Game Commission to conduct a water pollution and sewage treatment project on this 948-acre portion of SGL 176.
As part of the exchange, which was approved by Penn State’s Board of Trustees on Sept. 13, hunting and trapping would continue to be permitted for the next 25 years. Also, if Penn State ever desires to sell the 948-acre tract, the Game Commission will have right of first refusal.
The proposal also must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In exchange for the 948 acres, Penn State University agrees to purchase $8.2 million worth of properties identified by the Game Commission as suitable. Currently one property has been identified and is under contract to be transferred.
One of the tracts identified, originally approved for purchase by the Board on Oct. 12, 2000, is a 3,350-acre parcel in Beccaria, Chester and Jordan townships and Irvona Borough, in Clearfield County. Adjacent to SGL120, the Board approved purchasing the property from the Burgess Estate for $850,000.
However, since the purchase price exceeded $300,000, the proposal also was required to be approved by the state General Assembly as part of the capital budget process. As of yet, no capital budget bill for the Game Commission has been approved and the Burgess Estate is demanding settlement on the agreement.
Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s shooting competition team presented the Board of Game Commissioners with the National Police Shooting Championship trophy in the Conservation Officer category won earlier this year in Jackson, Mississippi.
Starting in 1989, the Game Commission has supported a shooting competition team for salaried officers, which takes part in the National Police Shooting Championships. That first year the Game Commission squad captured third place in the Conservation Officer category. Its performance continued to improve, taking runner-up honors in 1990 and in 1994, brought the national title to Pennsylvania.
This year, despite competing in adverse weather conditions caused by Hurricane Isidore, the team of Wildlife Conservation Officers David Carlini of Clearfield County, Guy Hansen of York County and Christopher Ivicic of Clearfield County and Land Management Officer Steve Bernardi of Snyder County once again took national first place honors in the 4-Man Conservation Officer Revolver Team category.
In addition, Hansen and Bernardi took first place in the 2-Man Conservation Officer semi-auto match and Hansen and Ivicic brought home several individual awards.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners presented the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department with a framed, wildlife print in recognizing a decade of successful and beneficial work performed on State Game Land 217.
During that span crews from the Juvenile Probation Department program put in approximately 1,500 man-hours in cleaning up dumpsites on the mountainous terrain that makes up SGL 217. Dumpsite work included the removal of over 3,000 discarded tires and 25 tons of trash in the form of discarded appliances and other large items.