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Be Cautious When Snowmobiling on State Game Lands

Pennsylvanians who enjoy our great outdoors on game lands will likely be required to have a permit in the future.  As the result of a proposal put forth to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s board, anyone who wants to hike, ride a bicycle, horseback ride, or snowmobile on state game lands will need to either buy a hunting license or get a free permit.  Proponents of the permitting process say that the permits will work as a way to collect data on the use of land by non-hunters, and will provide a means to help maintain game lands. 


Prior to this proposal, the general public has been largely welcome on game lands, even though the Commission pays to maintain it.  Some people feel that non-hunters who use the land, such as those who snowmobile, sometimes damage land, cause landscape changes (such as erosion), and also danger the natural wildlife without contributing to maintenance costs.  There are state rules that prohibit biking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling on state game lands from the last Saturday in September to the third Saturday in January, as well as the last Saturday in April to the last Saturday in May.  These time periods are the hunting periods for small animals, deer, bear, and turkey.  Non-hunters holding the appropriate permits could use authorized trails on Sunday, when hunting is not allowed. 


Many Pennsylvanians enjoy using snowmobiles on game lands during our winter months.  However, off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, are potentially dangerous vehicles for many of our state’s youth.  Improper ATV use is leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians.   Attorney Doug Stoehr of Altoona, PA handles cases involving injury as a result of accidents involving off-road vehicles.  For more information about Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania practice, please call his law firm at 814-515-9074.