Wednesday, November 11, 2020

DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council Meets Nov. 18 On Shale Gas Drilling Update, Final ATV Policy

DCNR Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on November 18 starting at 10:00 a.m.

On the agenda to be discussed are the final, revised ATV Policy, an update on shale gas drilling on state forest land and DCNR’s fall wildfire protection efforts.

Gas Drilling

DCNR issued its most recent of two formal reports on the environmental impact of shale gas drilling in state forest lands in 2018.  The prior report was in 2014.  Read more here.

The 2018 report found the conversion of State Forest land to shale gas infrastructure has slowed since the first report due to market conditions.  That pace has slowed even more since then.

The first report found 1,425 acres of State Forest had been converted to gas drilling infrastructure compared to 334 acres in the new report totaling 1,769.5 acres since 2008.

The report also noted the current shale gas leases are only about 30 to 35 percent built out, meaning there is much more gas infrastructure development to come in State Forests.

The 200-page monitoring report covers impacts to infrastructure, flora, forest health, invasive species, water, soil, air, incidents, fauna, recreation, community engagement, timber, energy, revenue and forest landscapes.

For more information on gas drilling on State Forest land, visit DCNR’s Natural Gas Management webpage. Click Here for a DCNR fact sheet on shale as leasing in State Forests generally.

ATV Policy

In January, DCNR published proposed changes to its ATV Policy on state forest lands for comment.  Read more here.

Where there was a moratorium on new trail development in the current policy, the revisions now authorize DCNR to consider new ATV trails and connectors on state forest lands.

The Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council released a report in January 2019 to provide recommendations on how DCNR and others could enhance motorized recreation in Pennsylvania.

Since then, legislation has been introduced-- House Bill 1706 (Gabler-R-Clearfield) to also allow Off-Highway Motorcycles-- dirt bikes and dual sport motorcycles-- on public trails, state forest and park lands and other public land.  Read more here.

Visit DCNR’s ATV Trails In State Forests webpage for more on trails in Pennsylvania.

Public Comments

Public comments will be accepted at the end of the meeting.  If you are interested in presenting comments at the meeting, please advise by email to: no later than 5 p.m. on November 17, so DCNR can add you as an active participant.  

You may also provide comments or questions after the meeting by emailing the same address or through the Council's webpage.

Joining The Meeting

Click Here to join the meeting online via WebEx.

For more information, visit DCNR’s Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council webpage.  Click Here to submit comments to or contact the Council.

[Posted: November 11, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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