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Borough closes access to motorized vehicles on its watershed property

Tyrone Borough decided earlier this month to close access to a road on watershed property it owns on Ice Mountain.
Previously, council had an agreement with the Allegheny Hunting Club allowing them access to acreage they own next to the borough’s property by using a key to a gate that was locked except during the hunting season period. The borough did keep the gate open during hunting season for anyone who wanted to use the road. Prior to the erection of the gate a few years ago, anyone who wanted to could use the road throughout the year. The borough decided to gate the road after some problems had occurred.
In 1989, the borough entered an agreement to give the Pennsylvania Game Commission patrolling authority and the right to make recommendations to the borough regarding the issues related to hunting on borough property.
Tyrone Borough Council voted to close the access entirely to motorized vehicles on a year-round basis at its Dec. 4 meeting. The decision applies to both the general public and the hunting club.
According to the Borough Council minutes for that meeting, the recommendation to close the access came after issues were raised by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Tyrone Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway explained to The Daily Herald, that the Borough also agreed to close the road after wind-energy company, Gamesa made improvements to the road. Earlier this year, the borough entered an agreement to allow Gamesa to conduct wind tests on Ice Mountain to determine if the area could be used by the company to develop it for producing wind energy. The borough’s agreement allows the company to do testing. Gamesa would need further approval from the borough to actually produce wind energy on the borough’s property.
The Borough minutes also noted that another access road to the club’s camp does exist. Those wanting to access the area beyond the locked gate can still do so just not by motorized vehicle. They will have to walk or use the alternate access.
According to the Dec. 4 minutes, Dannaway was to send a letter to the Allegheny Hunting Club advising them of the borough’s decision.
Members of the Hunting Club appeared at the Dec. 11 meeting. Jerry Watson spoke for the group and noted the club had used the road since 1951 to access the area it owns on Ice Mountain. Watson also noted that the club had done maintenance on the road.
Solicitor Larry Clapper noted the club did not have a right-of-way for the road but instead had a license to use it. Clapper said a license unlike a right-of-way can be altered.
Borough council and officials further explained their reasoning for closing the access. Dannaway said it “had become a problem of control” for the game commission. She said she had been contacted several times this year by a commission official about motorized vehicles on the road.
When it became clear council was not going to change its stance on the issue, Watson said, “That’s all I needed to know.” He and other club members left the meeting.
A Tyrone resident, Dallas Eckert, also addressed council on the issue. He is a hunter, but not a member of the club. Although the club had access to the road with the use of the key to the gate, other hunters did not have authorized access except during hunting season.
He suggested opening the road for everyone during big game season. He indicated he understood the issues the borough and game commission have with leaving the road open throughout the year such as abandoned vehicles, trash and parties.
He suggested the borough, the game commission and Gamesa work on a plan to allow partial access during big game season to alleviate the issue of hunters having to walk as far as they will now have to do in order to hunt on the land.

Categories
News

Borough closes access to motorized vehicles on its watershed property

Tyrone Borough decided earlier this month to close access to a road on watershed property it owns on Ice Mountain.
Previously, council had an agreement with the Allegheny Hunting Club allowing them access to acreage they own next to the borough’s property by using a key to a gate that was locked except during the hunting season period. The borough did keep the gate open during hunting season for anyone who wanted to use the road. Prior to the erection of the gate a few years ago, anyone who wanted to could use the road throughout the year. The borough decided to gate the road after some problems had occurred.
In 1989, the borough entered an agreement to give the Pennsylvania Game Commission patrolling authority and the right to make recommendations to the borough regarding the issues related to hunting on borough property.
Tyrone Borough Council voted to close the access entirely to motorized vehicles on a year-round basis at its Dec. 4 meeting. The decision applies to both the general public and the hunting club.
According to the Borough Council minutes for that meeting, the recommendation to close the access came after issues were raised by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Tyrone Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway explained to The Daily Herald, that the Borough also agreed to close the road after wind-energy company, Gamesa made improvements to the road. Earlier this year, the borough entered an agreement to allow Gamesa to conduct wind tests on Ice Mountain to determine if the area could be used by the company to develop it for producing wind energy. The borough’s agreement allows the company to do testing. Gamesa would need further approval from the borough to actually produce wind energy on the borough’s property.
The Borough minutes also noted that another access road to the club’s camp does exist. Those wanting to access the area beyond the locked gate can still do so just not by motorized vehicle. They will have to walk or use the alternate access.
According to the Dec. 4 minutes, Dannaway was to send a letter to the Allegheny Hunting Club advising them of the borough’s decision.
Members of the Hunting Club appeared at the Dec. 11 meeting. Jerry Watson spoke for the group and noted the club had used the road since 1951 to access the area it owns on Ice Mountain. Watson also noted that the club had done maintenance on the road.
Solicitor Larry Clapper noted the club did not have a right-of-way for the road but instead had a license to use it. Clapper said a license unlike a right-of-way can be altered.
Borough council and officials further explained their reasoning for closing the access. Dannaway said it “had become a problem of control” for the game commission. She said she had been contacted several times this year by a commission official about motorized vehicles on the road.
When it became clear council was not going to change its stance on the issue, Watson said, “That’s all I needed to know.” He and other club members left the meeting.
A Tyrone resident, Dallas Eckert, also addressed council on the issue. He is a hunter, but not a member of the club. Although the club had access to the road with the use of the key to the gate, other hunters did not have authorized access except during hunting season.
He suggested opening the road for everyone during big game season. He indicated he understood the issues the borough and game commission have with leaving the road open throughout the year such as abandoned vehicles, trash and parties.
He suggested the borough, the game commission and Gamesa work on a plan to allow partial access during big game season to alleviate the issue of hunters having to walk as far as they will now have to do in order to hunt on the land.