HARRISBURG, Pa., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved two purchases of land that will enhance two State Game Lands (SGLs) in Clarion and Venango counties in northwestern Pennsylvania, and three SGLs in Blair and Bedford counties in the southcentral part of the state.
As part of the first purchase, the Board approved buying two tracts of land from Timbervest Partners II Pennsylvania, LLC, in Clarion and Venango counties. The first tract being offered is 82.10 acres in Farmington Township, Clarion County adjoining SGL 24 and is referred to as the "Hall Tract." The cost of the Hall Tract is $82,100. The second tract is 545 acres in Cranberry Township, Venango County adjoining SGL and is referred to as the "D. Vann Tract." The cost of the D. Vann Tract is $473,000. Acquiring this property will provide vital legal access into a portion of SGL 45, which is currently inaccessible. The D. Vann Tract contains an unnamed tributary to Sandy Creek which borders the property to the east. Both properties have regenerating mixed northern hardwoods and will be paid for with funds from third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects.
In the second purchase, the Board approved acquiring from The Conservation Fund 2,157.43 acres in multiple tracts in Frankstown, Blair, Taylor and Catherine townships, Blair County, and Bloomfield and Greenfield townships, Bedford County, adjoining or near SGLs 166, 147 and 41. This purchase will take place in two phases.
Phase one of the project includes the acquisition of three separate tracts for $625,000: 403 acres in Frankstown, Blair and Taylor townships, Blair County, which adjoin SGL 147, and is referred to as the Reservoir Tract; 95.88 acres northwest of Roaring Spring in Taylor Township, Blair County, which is midway between SGL 147 and 41, and is referred to as Dunnings Ridge Tract; and 368.55 southeast of Claysburg in Bloomfield and Greenfield townships, Bedford County, near SGL 41 and is referred to as the Dunnings I-99 Tracts. The tracts are forested with mixed northern hardwoods in various age classes with mountain laurel understory at the higher elevations and greenbrier, witch hazel and grape-vine thickets present at lower elevations. Rock outcropping also are present, especially at higher elevations on the Reservoir Tract. Settlement shall be held no later than June 21, 2012. The fee for these three tracts will be paid with funds from third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects.
Phase two of the project includes 1,290 acres in Frankstown and Catherine townships, Blair County, adjoining SGL 166, and is referred to as the Beaver Dam Tracts. These tracts are forested with mixed northern hardwoods and lie within both an Important Mammal Area and Important Bird Area, which support the existence of both state and federally listed species. The cost of the property is $2,458,000, minus any funds raised by The Conservation Fund. The property will be purchased with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects and also may be partially funded by habitat mitigation commitments for impacts to state and federally listed species. Settlement shall be held no later than June 30, 2013.
BOARD APPROVES DONATION TO SGL 264 IN DAUPHIN COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved accepting a donation of 5.05 acres in Wiconisco Township, Dauphin County, from the estate of David V. Randall. The property is on the south-facing slope of Big Lick Mountain, and will become part of State Game Land 264. The parcel is forested with oak, maple and birch, and will serve as a buffer between backyards of existing residences and SGL 264.
BOARD APPROVES THREE LAND EXCHANGES
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved three land exchanges impacting State Game Lands (SGLs) in Clarion, Somerset, Juniata, Centre and Clearfield counties.
This first exchange involves SGL 72, Clarion County. As part of this exchange, the estate of Charles R. Alexander is offering 4.5 acres in Highland Township, Clarion County, in exchange for a 70-foot wide right‑of‑way through SGL 72, Highland Township, Clarion County. The right‑of‑way will run from Miola Road to the northern boundary of the Alexander property along an existing private road referred to as "Penny Lane."
In addition to conveying the 4.5 acres to the Game Commission, the Alexander Estate agreed to place certain restrictions, including "no build" buffers on the Alexander property. A "no build" setback of 75 yards will extend along the boundary between SGL 72 and the Alexander property from Miola Road east about 1,800 feet. From this point to the eastern boundary of the Alexander property the "no build" setback buffer will increase to 150 yards. This set back will protect this portion of SGL 72 from any future development that would have created a safety zone extending into SGL 72.
The 4.5 acres gained by the Game Commission is forested and is accessed from Miola Road.
The second exchange involves SGLs 111 and 88, in Somerset and Juniata counties. As part of this exchange, David and Laurie Crosby desire a 350-foot by 16.5-foot permanent right-of-way into their existing single-family home and associated outbuildings, and will cross SGL 111 in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. Under the terms of the exchange, no new buildings can be constructed within 75 yards of the SGL boundary, which will prevent any possible safety zone encroachment into the SGL. Maintenance of the right-of-way will be at each party's sole discretion to meet their particular needs.
In exchange, the Crosbys will provide $1,062.50 toward the acquisition of the property of Wilson L. and Mabel Eberly, who are offering for sale two tracts of land totaling 4.4 acres in Spring Hill Township, Juniata County, adjacent to SGL 88. Presently, the Game Commission and the Eberlys share a common right-of-way, and acquiring these tracts will provide improved access into SGL 88. The first tract is 4.31 acres and will provide access from State Road 3006, Mountain Road, and the second tract is 0.09 acres and will allow the use of an existing timber road on SGL 88. The cost of the two tracts is $18,953.84, and will be paid with funds from the Crosby right-of-way with the remainder being paid from third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects.
The third exchange involves SGLs 295 and 87 in Centre and Clearfield counties. As part of the exchange, Aquillas and Sallie Peachey are offering 4,011 acres in Greenwood and Penn townships, Clearfield County, adjacent to SGL 87, in exchange for 524 acres of SGL 295 in Miles Township, Centre County. The 524 acres presently owned by the Game Commission consists largely of mixed hardwoods and steep terrain with rock outcroppings and limited access.
In exchange, the Game Commission will retain 50 percent of the oil and gas on the 524 acres being conveyed to the Peacheys. In addition to the land exchange, the Peacheys agree to allow immediate public access into a portion of SGL 87 by allowing the use of an existing road on the 4,011 acres being conveyed to the Game Commission. Public access currently is impeded by terrain and private land holdings.
The tract being conveyed to the Game Commission will connect a detached 596-acre parcel of SGL 87 to the main portion of the SGL. The 4,011 acres consists mainly of mixed hardwoods, interspersed with herbaceous openings and supports a large beaver dam complex. Curry Run, a cold water fishery designated as a wild trout stream, runs through the property.
The Peacheys are reserving all rights to timber 13 inches or greater until Nov. 11, 2026, not to include any hickory and conifer trees, except for larch. All reclamation, seeding and infrastructure development supporting timber operations will be in coordination with the Game Commission.
As part of the exchange, the Game Commission will pay the Peacheys $410,000 with funds from third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses that occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects. Settlement will be no later than Sept. 1, which will enable access to this property for the fall hunting and trapping seasons.
This exchange will directly further the Commission's efforts to manage for early successional habitats on a large contiguous block of SGLs in Clearfield County.
"Our agency's efforts in creating and maintaining early successional habitats throughout the Commonwealth are critical in meeting with many of our habitat and species management goals for a large array of both game and non-game species that are highly dependent on this type of habitat in order to survive," said William Capouillez, Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management director. "With the addition of these 4,011 acres, coupled with the Game Commission's recent purchase of more than 9,200 acres, we now can manage on a much broader scale and anticipate that SGL 87 will soon become the premier destination of many sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts alike."
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission