Hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts heading into Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands this autumn will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently announced.
“[The] Bureau of Forestry is opening more than 525 miles of state forest roads normally open only for administrative use. They again will be available to hunters, hikers, foliage viewers, and others visiting state forestlands this fall,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This improved accessibility, coupled with DCNR’s promotion of deer hunting, benefits forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem.”
More than 3,000 miles of state forest roadways will be open during the traditional statewide archery deer season, which closes Saturday, November 14th. They will continue to stay open through other hunting seasons continuing into January 2021.
“Regardless of whether they seek deer, bear, turkey or small game, hunters in our state forests will find more than 90% of that land now is within one-half mile of an open road,” said Dunn.
With the hunter in mind, DCNR and the Pennsylvania Game Commission continue to update an interactive map of state forestlands and game lands across Pennsylvania.
The map offers information on the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and Disease Management Areas, and details on newly opened roads, timber harvesting activity, forestry office contacts, and more.
Meanwhile, top-quality hunting is offered at many state parks – especially those in the 12.5-county Pennsylvania Wilds region – where state forestland often surrounds them.
Inexpensive camping can be found at many of those parks.
Primitive camping on state forestlands is also an option, giving hunters a backcountry camping or hunting experience.
Camping permits, issued by the managing forest district, are required when camping on state forestlands on designated sites.
Many of these campsites are close to state parks and forestlands enrolled in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s DMAP, permitting hunters to take one antlerless deer or more when properly licensed.
Hunters traveling to some north central areas of the state are reminded some hunting areas and travel routes may be impacted by Marcellus Shale-related activities.
Some state forest roads may be temporarily closed during drilling operations or other peak periods of heavy use to reduce potential safety hazards.
Two- or three-month long openings will be in effect only where there is minimal threat of damage or deterioration to road surfaces or forest surroundings.