Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts traveling to Pennsylvania’s state-owned forests this fall will find additional roads open in 18 of the state’s 20 forest districts, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced. (DCNR).
“DCNR will open over 533 miles of National Forest Roads which are normally reserved for administrative use. They will be available again to hunters, hikers, foliage viewers and others visiting the state’s forest lands this fall,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
With the added access to administrative roads, more than 3,250 miles of state logging roads will be open during the statewide archery deer season, which opens Saturday and ends ends November 18.
Many of these roads will remain open during other hunting seasons, until January 2023. Forest managers may close these roads at any time if weather conditions require it, in order to avoid damage or deterioration of the road surfaces or forest surroundings.
“Whether they are looking for deer, bears, turkeys or small game, hunters in our state forests will find that more than 90% of this land is currently within half a mile of an open road” , State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger said. “We encourage the safe and responsible use of additional roads as we share our forests this fall and winter.
Top quality hunting is offered at many state parks – including those in the 12.5-county Pennsylvania Wilds region – where state forests often surround them. Visit the DCNR website for more information on hunting opportunities on DCNR land.
Wild camping, where a motor vehicle is not used for storage or transportation during the camping experience, on state forest land is also an option, providing hunters with a camping or hunting experience in the hinterland.
When primitive camping on the same state forest site for more than one night, a camping permit is required. Camping permits, issued by the forest management district, are also required when motorized camping on state forest lands and when camping at designated sites.
Many of these campsites are close to state parks and registered forests in Pennsylvania. Game Commission’s Deer Management Assistance Scheme, allowing hunters to take one or more antlerless deer when properly licensed.
Hunters traveling to certain north-central areas of the state are reminded of certain hunting areas, and travel routes may be affected by activity related to the Marcellus Shales.
Some National Forest Roads may be temporarily closed during drilling operations or other peak periods of heavy use to reduce potential safety hazards.
Some of the administrative roads in the state forest will only be open during the second week of the traditional hunting season, as they cannot withstand the expected heavy traffic of the first week of this season.
Openings lasting two or three months will only be in effect when there is a minimal threat of damage or deterioration to the road surface or forest surroundings.
Following the last day of the regular antlerless deer gun season on Dec. 10, many of the year-round travel National Forest Roads are open for joint use by licensed snowmobiles and motor vehicles, including hunters and other recreational users.
After December 10, the Forest Maintenance staff maintains many of the National Forest Roads to allow snowmobile travel when conditions permit, so exercise extreme caution as you may encounter a snow groomer or snowmobiles on the common-use national forest roads during this period.
• More information: Visit www.dcnr.pa.gov.