PGC unveils land deals at recent meeting

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Game Commission announed five land
actions the agency has made recently at its recent quarterly
meeting here:

Board enables greater flexibility to purchase land

 To enable Pennsylvania Game
Commission staff to act expeditiously to acquire lands, waters,
oil, gas and minerals rights, the Board of Game Commissioners today
gave final approval to a regulatory change to delegate certain
powers to the agency’s executive director.
 “Tax sales or auctions often are
announced between regular Board of Game Commissioner meetings and
are to be held sooner than is practicable to hold a special meeting
or notational vote,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive
director. “By approving this regulation today, the Board has
granted staff the flexibility it needs to bid on real estate, oil,
gas or mineral rights at auction, or tax sales, so that we can
better protect our State Game Lands system and the investment made
in these lands by hunters and trappers.”
 Under the regulatory change, the
executive director must notify the Board of Commissioners of the
pending auction sale date and verify that, due to unforeseen time
constraints, it is necessary to be able to react immediately. The
purchase price at auction may not exceed $500,000 without
additional approval from the majority of the Board of
Commissioners, and successful bids must be made known to the
general public at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board
of Commissioners.
Additionally, no further action
would be necessary on the part of the Board of Commissioners to
hold settlement, pay the remainder of the purchase price or
consummate the transaction.
Commissioners approve actions in
Centre, Clearfield and Somerset counties
Commissioners approved the
purchase of 359 acres in Huston Township, Clearfield County,
adjoining State Game Land 331, from The Conservation Fund for
$323,100, of which $137,200 will be paid from the Game Fund. The
balance will be paid from the Blanche Pollum Estate, whose bequest
to the Game Commission stipulated that land be purchased within 15
air miles of DuBois, as well as third party commitments for
compensation of habitat and recreational losses from previously
approved Commission actions.
As part of the deed, The
Conservation Fund reserves all timber and timber rights for 15
years. Specific timber harvesting provisions have been agreed to
that follow best management practices for Pennsylvania forests, and
all timber harvests will be conducted in close coordination with
the Game Commission.
This tract is an indenture into
the northwest boundary of SGL 331, and is predominantly forested
with mixed northern hardwoods. Wetlands are along the low-lying
areas associated with the upper reaches of the Bennett Branch of
Sinnemahoning Creek.
In separate action, the board
approved a land purchase of 85 acres in Howard Township, Centre
County, adjacent to the agency’s Howard Nursery, from the Estate of
Louise P. Leathers for $386,000. This payment will be made by third
party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational
losses from previously approved Game Commission actions.
There is a reservation of a
one-inch waterline from an existing springhouse to the property of
one of Louise P. Leathers’ heirs. This property also adjoins U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers property at the Corps’ Foster Joseph Sayers
Dam flood control project. The property has about 45 acres in
agricultural fields with the remaining 40 acres in mixed northern
hardwoods. The property is easily accessible by way of State Route
150 along the northern border of the property and Dowdy Hole Road,
a township road that bisects the property to the south.
Lastly, the Board today accepted a
donation of 46 acres of land in Shade Township, Somerset County,
near State Game Land 93, from Waste Management, Inc. through the
Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation.
Waste Management has reserved the
oil and gas; however, they have agreed to not utilize any surface
for any oil/gas related activities, including the exploration,
access, development and transportation of oil or natural gas. Gas
extraction will require horizontal drilling from neighboring
properties. A mining permit exists with a Stage III bond being held
by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The deed will contain language
stating that the Game Commission will not accept any liability
connected to the acid mine drainage (AMD) discharge that is being
actively treated and occurs on the property from past surface
mining activities. About 18 acres are wetlands, including open
water, emergent and riparian habitat associated with Miller Run
that runs through the tract. A conifer plantation and mixed
northern hardwoods cover 14 acres. The remaining 14 acres are
equally split between grassland and agricultural fields. Access to
the property is provided by Burinda Road, which is a township
Board approves exchange with
Turnpike Commission
Commissioners approved a land
exchange with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that will enable
it to expand and upgrade an area along Interstate 76 that bisects
the northern portion of State Game Land 169 in Upper Mifflin
Township, Cumberland County.
This turnpike expansion project
will include the taking of about 2.2 acres of SGL 169, which is
under restrictions by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania due to being
acquired with funding under the Project 70 Act. This will require
the exchange with the Turnpike Commission to be approved by the
General Assembly, and the Turnpike Commission will serve as the
lead agency in seeking approval.
In exchange, the Turnpike
Commission will transfer to the Game Commission about 2.2 acres of
land that is an indenture to SGL 169, in Upper Mifflin Township,
Cumberland County. There is a restriction on this property
regarding objections or challenges to the adjoining landfill and
its operations. The Turnpike Commission has agreed to obtain a
release from the restrictions. If the release is not obtained, the
Game Commission will not be obligated to acquire title to the
property. The tract has the Conodoquinet Creek as its southern
boundary, and is forested with common bottomland species found
along riparian corridors.
Board approves coal lease
Commissioners approved a lease
with Susquehanna Haul & Drilling, LLC of Exeter, to mine and
remove an abandoned anthracite coal refuse pile disposed on a
12-acre portion of State Game Land 260 in Salem Township, Luzerne
The proposed refuse pile removal
project will entail about 4.5 acres of abandoned and un-reclaimed
refuse pile containing roughly 1.8 million tons of refuse and waste
rock material. The remaining lease acreage will be utilized for
access to the coal refuse removal site, construction of erosion and
sedimentation controls and operational support.
The accumulated royalty value of
this proposed project has been calculated at $200,000. Removal and
reclamation of the refuse pile will eliminate an abandoned mine
hazard and restore the area to its natural condition. Reclamation
will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s Surface Coal The seven-year
lease will include a $15,000 performance bond and environmental
protection standards. Further, Susquehanna Haul & Drilling will
be obligated to carry out a site specific wildlife habitat and
reclamation plan prepared by the Game Commission’s local Land
Management Group Supervisor. No merchantable timber is to be
affected by this reclamation operation.
In exchange for the coal refuse
removal and reclamation lease, Susquehanna Haul & Drilling will
pay the Game Commission a minimum advanced royalty payment of
$10,000 per year for the first two years. 
Susquehanna Haul & Drilling
also will compensate the agency at a royalty rate of 10 percent
F.O.B. pit price or a minimum of $1/ton, whichever the greater, for
each and every ton of coal refuse mined and removed from the
The lease also will provide a
wheelage provision in which Susquehanna Haul & Drilling will
pay the Game Commission 25¢ per ton or one percent F.O.B. pit
price, whichever the greater, for coal refuse removed from adjacent
property and hauled through SGL 260. All revenues generated from
this project shall be deposited into the Game Fund.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

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