Pennsylvania considering all-out hiking ban on state game lands during hunting seasons

Fall foliage season is a popular time for hiking in Pennsylvania. But fall hiking on state game lands might be prohibited if a new regulation under consideration by the Pennsylvania Game Commission is approved.

The commission is scheduled to consider a new rule Jan. 27, 2015 that would forbid hiking and other non-hunting activities on state game lands during fall and spring hunting seasons, which total more than 130 days. Hiking would still be permitted on Sundays, when hunting is disallowed.

The Appalachian Trail and other long-distance trails that go through state game lands would be exempt, but hiking advocates worry access paths to those trails through state game lands would be restricted.

Biking, horseback riding and snowmobiling is already prohibited on state game land during those two seasons, and hiking also is considered a secondary use on the property, said Travis Lau, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Much of the land was purchased through hunting permit sales and taxes on hunting equipment especially for hunting, Lau said.

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