HARRISBURG, PA - Two state game lands tracts will grow by about 120 acres each through an agreement with the Transcontintal Gas Pipe Line Co. (TRANSCO).
State Game Lands 168 will pick up about 117 acres adjacent to the game lands in Eldred Township, Monroe County, and State Game Lands 300 will grow by about 120 acres in Jefferson Township, Lackawanna County.
The acreage is being acquired in exchange for a license for right-of-way that will allow TRANSCO to construct, operate, maintain and remove a 42-inch natural-gas pipeline across a portion of State Game Lands 211 in Union Township, Lebanon County.
In addition to conveying the parcels to the Game Commission, TRANSCO will pay the agency’s standard habitat, surface and timber damages, as well as its standard annual license fee for as long as the license remains active.
The Monroe County parcel offered by TRANSCO is located in the Aquashicola Creek watershed, and contains the headwaters of an unnamed tributary. The habitat is primarily mature forest with stands of white pine, hemlock, Norway spruce, hickory, red oak, poplar, black gum and black birch. The understory is comprised of witch-hazel, dogwood and black haw. Access is available by way of Camp Wind Gap Drive, south of Upper Smith Gap Road.
The Lackawanna County parcel is located in the Lackawanna River watershed, and contains the headwaters of White Oak Run and Laurel Run. The habitat is primarily a mature oak-maple forest along with some limited scrub oak, and the understory is comprised of bracken fern and sassafras. Access to the property is limited to existing state game lands roads, from the east off Archibald Mountain Road. Both properties will serve to reduce the acreage of indentures into these game lands.
The license will authorize 1,320 linear feet of 42-inch natural gas pipeline within a new 50-foot wide right-of-way, occupying 1.52 acres of State Game Lands 211, immediately adjacent to the southern boundary. TRANSCO will use and reclaim an additional 1.32 acres of game lands outside of this right-of-way during construction and reclamation.
The pipeline crosses the Appalachian Trail (AT) on state game lands, and TRANSCO will be installing that crossing via a conventional bore, thereby avoiding any surface impacts for a minimum of 107 feet on either side of the AT.
As a result, 0.25 acres of the 1.52 acres of the licensed right-of-way will not sustain any surface impacts whatsoever. In addition, TRANSCO will implement an extensive reclamation plan within 1.80 acres of the temporary workspace and portions of the right-of-way to include a variety of tree and shrub plantings.
The Board of Game Commissioners approved the exchange unanimously.
DONATIONS ADD TO GAME LANDS, PROVIDE RIGHT-OF-WAY, INTERESTS
State Game Lands 33 will grow by more than 171 acres thanks to a land donation by the Woodduck Chapter of Trout Unlimited, approved today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
The property, which is located in Rush Township, Centre County and adjoins the existing game lands, mostly is forested with mixed oaks, aspen, maple, birch, and cherry, with mountain laurel, rhododendron, witch-hazel and greenbrier in the understory.
On about 30 acres of the tract, there are seven impoundments of an acre or less that are part of a passive system to treat acid-mine discharge affecting a tributary to Cold Stream, which is stocked with trout and runs through the western side of the property.
Access to the property is from Dike Road, east of state Route 322.
Additionally, the Board of Game Commissioners today approved the donation of fractional interest in clay, coal and other minerals on nearly 1,944 acres of State Game Lands 54 and 195 in Jefferson County.
Harry Deible offered the donation, which includes a one-third interest in coal and other minerals on about 27 acres in Snyder Township under a portion of State Game Lands 54; a one-third of one-half interest in coal and other hard minerals on more than 136 acres in Henderson and Gaskill townships under a portion of State Game Lands 195; and a one-third interest in clay and other hard minerals, except coal, on more than 1,780 acres located in Henderson and Gaskill townships under a portion of State Game Lands 195.
Acquiring these fractional interests in mineral rights will provide more control of the surface on these portions of State Game Land 54 and 195.
And Camp Earl Inc. donated to the Game Commission a 50-foot-wide, 1,590 right-of-way along the northwestern boundary of a property it owns in Forkston Township, Wyoming County, adjacent to State Game Lands 57.
The board approved the donation today.
Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Director Peter F. Sussenbach said State Game Lands 57 is about 45,000 acres, but the upper section is difficult to get to because of its location and rugged terrain. The right-of-way will provide easy access that will connect an existing parking lot to that section through the right-of-way.
Access to the right-of-way will be from Windy Valley Road.
Sussenbach said the right-of-way also will allow the Game Commission to better manage timber on the tract.
NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT TO ADD OVER 100 ACRES TO GAME LANDS
State Game Lands 97 could grow by nearly 104 acres in Monroe Township, Bedford County through a negotiated agreement intended to resolve a long-standing legal dispute.
As part of the settlement, the Game Commission would purchase for $235,000 land adjacent to the existing game lands from the Estate of Rae F. Barkman. The estate would be responsible for 2016 real-estate taxes (no proration) and all transfer taxes associated with the conveyance.
The legal dispute to be settled through the agreement concerns the Game Commission’s and public’s use of an access road that crosses a portion of the Barkman tract and provides valuable access to a remote section of State Game Lands 97.
Game Commission Bureau of Habitat Management Director Peter F. Sussenbach said public access had been denied through the dispute and reclaiming the access point had been identified by the Southcentral Region office as a top priority for the agency.
The habitat on the tract primarily is mature forest with stands of dry-oak heath and northern hardwoods. The understory is comprised of blueberry and oak seedlings, flowering dogwood, serviceberry, hornbeam, spice bush and witch-hazel.
Access to the property is provided by Frankies Road and an existing all-year Game Commission access road (WestVaco Access Road).
Two retired skid roads provide additional access within the property interior. Acquisition of this tract will aid in the reduction of indentures into State Game Lands 97 and will guarantee long-term and reliable public and administrative access to this remote section.
COMMISSIONERS APPROVE COAL AGREEMENT
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved an agreement that will enable Mountaineer Mining Corp., of Berlin, Pa., to mine and remove an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 combined tons of Upper and Lower Kittanning coal from an approximate 2.2-acre coal reserve owned by the Game Commission.
The operation in Shade Township, Somerset County will occur on private lands and will not impact any Game Commission surface lands.
The terms are a five-year agreement, an initial advanced royalty payment of $10,000, and a royalty rate of 6 percent of the F.O.B. pit price for all coal mined and sold from the premises, or $2.50 per ton, whichever is greater.
All coal royalty payments will be deposited in the Game Fund. Mining will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s mining regulations and the Game Commission’s standard Surface Coal Mining Agreement.
MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau - 717-705-6541
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