HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Playgrounds really are something to see.
Do you want to find out? Take one of the tours the Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting in October.
Nine tours are scheduled across the state, the first of which will take place on Sunday, October 2. More tours are planned each Sunday through October 16.
The tours provide a good example of the opportunities available on playing fields across the state, while also showing how the habitat work done on these stretches benefits wildlife.
All tours are free, run rain or shine, and are open only to vehicles licensed to travel on public roads.
The tour schedule is as follows:
Sunday, October 2
- State Game Lands 42, Somerset and Westmoreland counties, 11am-4pm: The tour begins at the Game Lands parking lot located on Route 271 on the line between Somerset and Westmoreland counties. Look for the signal. The tour will conclude at Furnace Lane in New Florence. Covering an approximate 7.3-mile stretch of game land, this round-trip, self-guided tour will highlight mountainous terrain and various habitat enhancement projects. Items of interest along the trail include a ruffed grouse study area, road maintenance and access improvements, forestry projects, remains of an old iron furnace, and more. Gaming Commission staff will be along the tour route to highlight projects and answer questions.
- State Game Lands 57, Luzerne and Wyoming counties, 9 am to 1 pm: Game Commission staff will be available to explain points of interest, including wildlife habitat improvement projects. Four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance are required for this 30-mile self-guided driving tour, which will take approximately three hours to complete. The tour will go through habitat improvement projects completed by the State Game Lands 57 wildlife habitat team with the help of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited. Representatives from the Game Commission and conservation organizations will be available to explain the projects and answer questions. The route will begin at the Game Lands parking area on Mountain Springs Road, just off of Route 487. Each vehicle will receive a map and a brief explanation of the wildlife habitat management programs taking place on this impressive expanse of public hunting land.
Sunday, October 9
- State Game Lands 12, Bradford County, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – This tour will highlight habitat enhancements, infrastructure improvements, and hunting opportunities. The tour will showcase the accomplishments of the Game Commission’s wildlife habitat teams and dedicated volunteers from various conservation organizations. The 28-mile self-guided circular drive through the game lands will take approximately two hours to complete. State Game Lands 12 consists of nearly 24,480 acres in Bradford County. The route will begin at the Game Lands parking lot at the top of Wheelerville Mountain on Route 154, just south of Canton. Vehicles with good ground clearance are recommended. The route travels east to Barclay Cemetery, then down the hill to Laquin before turning west on the railroad grade toward Wheelerville. The tour ends at the intersection with Route 154 in Wheelerville. From there, those on the tour can travel north on Route 154 to Canton, or south to Shunk in Sullivan County. The drive passes through Sunfish Pond County Park, so a picnic lunch may be the order of the day. Those taking the tour will find the local history of the mountain and the Game Commission refuge system intriguing. Each vehicle will be given a pocket guide with historical information and photographs at the start of the tour.
- State Game Lands 26, Bedford County, noon to 3 pm: The public is invited to tour this 12,000-acre site located in Blue Knob. This driving tour begins on Route 869 near the Bedford/Cambria County line and covers approximately 7 miles. Participants will find ample opportunities to enjoy the history of the hunting lands and improvements in habitat quality by the Game Commission’s habitat teams in partnership with partner organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation. The work of the Game Commission’s forestry staff will also be on display in the display of the vast lumber production generated through lumber sales and lumber stall improvements. Questions may be directed to the Southcentral Region Office at 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD.
Sunday, October 16
- State Game Lands 67, Huntingdon County, noon to 3 pm: This tour shows a 5,700-acre piece of land near Dudley. The tour begins on Route 913 between Coalmont and Dudley (look for the sign) and covers approximately 7 miles. Participants will find ample opportunities to enjoy historic sites, habitat quality improvements made by habitat management teams in collaboration with partner organizations such as the Huntingdon County Conservation District and the Shoup’s Run Watershed, as well as quality forest management areas and prescribed burning. This tour will be a self-guided car tour only as there will be no staff available to lead the tour as in previous years. Information will be provided to each vehicle at the start of the tour to help guide them on their way. Questions may be directed to the Southcentral Region Office at 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD.
- State Game Lands 108, Cambria County, 11am-4pm: This 7.5-mile, self-guided, one-way tour will highlight the mountainous terrain and early fall foliage on the Allegheny Front. Items of interest along the trailhead include a rehabilitated strip mined area that has been converted into small game habitat, where the Game Commission releases pheasants. The area also serves as a study area for grassland-nesting birds, including Henslow’s sparrow, a grassland species of special concern. Northern harriers, hawks and long-eared owls, all in danger of extinction, also inhabit the study area. There are also several projects to improve wildlife habitat along the trailhead. Each tour participant will receive an information brochure about the tour route. The tour begins on the game lands access road three-tenths of a mile north of Frugality, along State Route 53, in White Township. Look for the signal. The tour will conclude on State Route 865 near Blandburg in Reade Township. Gaming Commission staff will be stationed along the tour route to highlight projects and answer questions.
- State Game Lands 311, Elk County, 9 am to 1 pm: This stretch contains almost 3,800 acres of mountainous and forested terrain. The elk herd uses the lands in this game as their main range. The tour is self-guided with information stops along the way. The tour will begin near the intersection of Front and Walnut streets in Benezette. Questions may be directed to the Northcentral Region Office at 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD.
- State Game Lands 110, Berks County, 9am-3pm: This tour begins at the gate on Mountain Road, about 5 miles west of Hamburg Borough, and ends at the gate on Route 183, 4 miles north of Strausstown. Gaming Commission staff will be stationed along the tour route to provide site-specific information and answer questions.
- State Game Lands 210, Dauphin County, 9 a.m. Extensive ongoing wildlife habitat enhancement projects will be highlighted. Gaming Commission staff will be stationed along the tour route to provide site-specific information and answer questions.
MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541
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