The Pennsylvania state game lands system, which since 1919 has provided critical habitat for wildlife statewide, and a network of lands open to public hunting and trapping, now tops 1.5 million acres.
That’s a land base larger than the state of Delaware. Pennsylvania is the only independent state wildlife agency that owns and manages such extensive lands. And Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said all Pennsylvanians can take pride in the achievement of what the 1.5 million acre milestone represents.
“Early in its existence, the Game Commission recognized the importance of preserving wildlife habitat, and at the same time, creating opportunity for hunters and trappers by opening those lands to the public, ” Hough said. “For years and years, Pennsylvania hunters and trappers have paid into this system with the purchase of their licenses, and the sporting arms and ammunition they use in the field. Countless conservation organizations have stepped up to fund land purchases, and hundreds of private individuals donated parcels that were added to the system.
Game Lands Documentary
The Game Commission has produced a documentary chronicling Pennsylvania’s state game lands system. It can be viewed below.
Future of Game Lands
Taking care of the tremendous land resource state game lands represent is no small feat.
A lot of manpower and money goes into modifying habitat to get the greatest return for wildlife. The Game Commission’s 2015-20 Strategic Plan calls for the agency to transition management practices on state game lands to create more young-forest habitats through timber harvest, planting native warm-season grasses and prescribed fire. The Game Commission will also focus efforts on enhancing hunter opportunities on game lands.
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