Some using state game lands could face trail fee

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Aug 19, 2014 2:00 PM

Photo by Wikicommons user Beyond My Ken

State game lands in Pike County.

(Harrisburg) -- Bicyclists, snowmobilers, and horseback riders would all have to pay a fee for using trails on state game lands under a new proposal.

The permit to use horses, snowmobiles or bikes on designated trails in state game lands would cost $30 for the year, though hunters and trappers would not have to pay a fee on top of the usual hunting or trapping license. 

The idea first came up at a June meeting, as commissioners look at the impact of the activities on trails.

Because they don't damage the trails as much, hikers and birdwatchers would be exempt from the added cost, says Travis Lau, spokesman for the Game Commission.

"It is a new fee, but at the same time, it's a new fee with a purpose to maintain those trails that I'm using and that I'm creating wear and tear on and at the same time, protecting the Game Lands as wildlife habitat and hunting grounds, which is the primary use of the game lands," says Lau.

Lau says it isn't hard to identify damage done by bicyclists, snowmobiles and horses.

But when asked, Lau said he didn't have any numbers on how many might have to fork over the money.

"I don't know how many people who ride regularly on game lands now but don't have a hunting or fur-taking license, because with that hunting or fur-takers license, you won't need to get the permit."

Lau says some bikers create obstacles on designated trails in order to add some variety to their rides, but moving rocks and sticks adds work for park staff. He says because the Game Commission largely relies on revenue from activities on its land (hunting, trapping, timber sales, etc.), the fee might be necessary. 

Wildlife conservation officers patrol the game lands, and may be tasked with enforcing the fee if its approved. 

Commissioners will consider the fee at their two day meeting starting September 22nd.

Comments will be taken at the meeting, or through an email to

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