Tyrone tackles Watershed trespassers with Game Commission help

Tyrone Borough recently took steps to deal with the on-going problem of trespassing in the Watershed area.
According to a report from the Tyrone Water Department in 1989, Tyrone Borough entered into an agreement with the Pennsylvania State Game Commission. In the agreement, the borough agreed to open certain areas of the watershed for hunting and post other areas as off-limits. In return, the Game Commission would patrol all of the watershed and cooperate with the borough concerning any problems.
The report released to borough council at its meeting earlier this week revealed in recent months, three people had vehicles stuck at the backside of the watershed. The water department report advised council there was no reason for people to have vehicles in that particular area of the watershed.
The report also showed the State Game Commission and Tyrone have worked to have vehicles removed and operators fined if necessary. Unlicensed four wheelers and snowmobiles have been riding on borough property to state game lands and according to the information submitted to council, an extreme amount of damage has been caused to game fields.
At Monday’s Council meeting, Stephen T. Hanczar, State Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer, addressed the borough’s concerns. He presented to council maps showing where a proposed gate would be installed.
“The location of the gate would be above the most steepest part of the ATT line, it’s a one way trip,” said Hanczar, as he spoke before council. “If you’re going in without a four wheel drive you’re not going to come out unless a tow truck comes to get you.”
Hanczar indicated in one recent case, it took a logging skidder to remove a vehicle after it became stuck in May. The State Game Commission then posted signs at the top of the hill stating that the area beyond that point was closed to motorized vehicles.
“Where these vehicles were stuck was difficult for even a four wheel drive or an ATV to climb out,” Hanczar told council in explaining the severity of the situation. “The State Game Commission had difficulty going down and coming up in one particular location.”
Other measures have been taken to deal with the problem, Tyrone’s Water Department dropped trees on the road to prevent vehicles from going past the posted signs which would prohibit those vehicles. Other actions taken included the State Game Commission issuing written warnings.
“There is a belief in the community that as long as you are on the ATT line using an ATV it’s legal,” said. He then pointed out such activity is not legal. Ultimately, it’s up to the borough to designate what type of road usage it will allow on its lands.
After the presentation by Hanczar, a request was made that council consider closing the watershed to all but authorized persons from the Sandy Ridge Road to the end of the watershed. Under the request from the water department, from route 453 (Janesville Pike) to the Sandy Ridge road, only licensed motorized vehicles would be permitted to use the road. All four-wheelers and snowmobiles would no longer have access to any properties.
After the proper motions were made, Tyrone Borough Council approved the request, warning signs will now be placed at the point where a gate will be installed. The State Game Commission will continue to issue warnings and vehicles that go beyond that point can then be hit with a fine in the amount of $100.