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Special Requests to Use State Game Lands Information

The Commission is interested in protecting the Commonwealth's resources while at the same time ensuring that hunting, furtaking and wildlife dependent recreational activities are enjoyed to the greatest extent possible. Not all activities can be conducted at all times everywhere on State Game Lands without interfering with each other or harming the Commonwealth's wildlife resources. Therefore, the Commission has regulated what activities can be conducted on State Game Lands. Pursuant to 58 Pa.Code §135.41 certain activities cannot be conducted without the permission of the Director. These activities must be conducted in such a manner as to ensure the Commonwealth's resources are protected and that wildlife dependent recreational activities are enjoyed to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, the Commission will issue permits to evidence the Director's written permission in accordance with SOP 60.7 to ensure a quality experience for everyone.

The process outlined below was established to review such requests for a particular area on · State Game Lands.

Permit Applications

  1. Anyone wishing to conduct an activity that requires PGC authorization; including any activity or event involving more than 10 persons, which may conflict with the intended purposes or uses of property, or poses a potential environmental or safety problem, will make their request on an "Application for State Game Lands Special Use Permit" which has been standardized for ease of administration . Maps should accompany the Applicatiom outlining the activity area. Except in exceptional ci rcumstances requiring Executive Director Approval, permits shall only be issued to responsible adults over the age of 18. Applications may be returned for further information if they do not provide enough detail I to review.
  2. The completed "Application for State Game Lands Special Use Permit" must b e forwarded to the appropriate Land Management Group Supervisor for initial investigation.
    A. Applications may be forwarded t o the PGC Regional Office having Jurisdiction over that particular County. PGC Regional Offices are listed at the end of this document.
  3. After review and consideration by the PGC, the applicant will receive a Special Use Permit, Disapproval, or Conditional Approval written notification for the submitted application.

Trail Activities on State Game Lands

The Commission is interested in protecting the Commonwealth's resources while at the same time ensuring that hunting, furtaking and wildlife dependent recreational activities are enjoyed to the greatest extent possible. Not all activities can be conducted at all times everywhere on game lands without interfering with each other or harming the Commonwealth's wildlife or wildlife habitat resources. Therefore, the Commission has regulated what activities can be conducted on State Game Lands. Pursuant to 58 Pa.Code §135.41 certain activities cannot be conducted without the permission of the Director. These activities must be conducted in such a manner as to ensure the Commonwealth's resources are protected and that wildlife dependent recreational activities are enjoyed to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, the Commission will issue Special Use Permits to evidence the Director's written permission in accordance with SOP 60.7 to ensure a quality experience for everyon

The process outlined below was established to review trail use requests for a particular area on State Game Lands.

Trails and Designated Routes

A "designated route" is a multi-use road or trail located upon State Game Lands, which is open to hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding at certain times of the year, and under certain restrictions.

Public requests for permanent new trails, trail re-routes, and designated routes on State Game Lands will be made on an Application for State Game Lands Special Use Permit, provided by the PGC. The PGC may reject requests for permanent trails, trail re-routes, or designated routes on SGLs that do not contain sufficient assurances that the trails will be properly maintained. To improve application consistency and quality, they should be co-signed by a trained trail organization representative identified by a related statewide recreation organization, such as:

Keystone Trails Association
PA Appalachian Trails Committee
PA Equine Council
PA Chapter International Mountain Bicycling Association
PA State Snowmobile Association

All other applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Trained representatives shall be authorized by a statewide recreation organization, through participation in a trails training course covering established best management practices and trail maintenance standards. These representatives will review the proposed trail on site and.may act as an advisor to the applicant. Proof of training may be requested.

Permit Application Submission Process

Trail permit applications for new trails, trail re-routes, or "designated routes" will be reviewed through the following process:

Applications will be made on the Application for State Game Lands Special Use Permit. Applications are available from PGC Regional Offices, Land Management Group Supervisors, or on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's web site www.pgc.state.pa.us. The permit "applicant" for trail requests should have support from an established club or group that is willing to enter into a trail maintenance agreement with the PGC.
The "applicant" should contact an appropriate statewide trail organization and coordinate with a trained trail organization representative regarding the application.
The responsibility of the trained trail organization representative is to conduct an initial review of the proposed trail area, and if satisfied that adequate best management practices are proposed in the trail planning and layout, co-sign the permit application below the group applicant. No flagging or trail marking is permitted without prior approval of the Land Management Group Supervisor in charge of the area.
Any application for a new trail, trail re-route, or new designated route established on the State Game Lands requires a Trail Maintenance Agreement (see below).
Signed permit applications will be forwarded to the Land Management Group Supervisor, or PGC Regional Office responsible for the appropriate area.
Any application for a trail that enters or leaves State Game Lands on adjoining private land, must include a copy of a signed agreement with the adjoining private landowners, allowing access through their private lands to State Game Lands, prior to consideration by the PGC. These agreements should be for at least 5 years or be annual continually renewing agreements.
Any application for a trail that enters or leaves State Game Lands on adjoining public land must include documentation of an existing designated trail or trail agreement from the public land agency prior to consideration by the PGC.
It is suggested that prior to the submission of the permit application, the applicant complete a PNDI search for the proposed area, and attach the clearance documents to the application.
The applicant should give the PGC plenty of lead time when planning a proposed new trail or designated route. The PGC Officers conducting the trail reviews are especially busy during the fall and late spring seasons.
Once the application is received by the PGC, it will be reviewed by field staff, Regional staff, and Harrisburg staff, if necessary, for consideration. The following impacts aTe considered during the review process: appropriateness for SGL; hunting or management conflicts; funding implications; land and habitat classifications; wetlands; critical, unique, or special habitats; threatened or endangered species or habitats; required permits; topography and soil conditions; sustainability; proper trail planning and layout; access for maintenance; habitat management or forestry impacts; PGC regulations and other lawful uses; SGL management plans; anticipated use; wildlife impacts; other environmental or management concerns.
State Game Lands have been established as wildlife management areas, and to provide opportunities for hunting and trapping. All other recreational uses of these lands including trails are considered secondary uses and subject to management discretion, therefore not all trail requests will be approved.
If the permit application is disapproved, the applicant will receive written notification from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Trail Maintenance Agreement

Trail maintenance agreements are required for any proposed new trail, trail re-route, or new designated route established on the State Game Lands.

The trail agreement term is typically for a period of five (5) years, and then year to year after that unless revoked earlier. The maintenance agreement covers specific issues to that particular trail such as access for trail work, maintained trail width, approved trail signs, road crossings, trail volunteers, contact numbers, authorized equipment for trail maintenance; trail uses; trail closures; cutting of vegetation; etc.
Two copies of the trail maintenance agreement will be prepared by the PGC Region and sent to the applicant group for signature. Once signed and returned, the agreement will be considered along with the application for approval, disapproval, or conditional approval (pending additional information/documentation). When an approval is issued, a copy of the Special Use Permit and maintenance agreement will be returned to the applicant. This will signal the complete and final approval for the proposed trail. When the group receives the final documents from the PGC they may initiate trail activities as outlined in the agreement.









Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797