As the forests beckon us to return to their paths now that winter has subsided (hopefully), let’s take a look at the reports we received over the winter for our Trail Logbook Project.
Reports came from several counties, but the majority of complaints focused on the impacts of drilling in Loyalsock State Forest.
Main Trails Affected:
Impacts Reported (in descending order according to frequency):
Drilling has largely overtaken this tract of Loyalsock State Forest. I would say that drilling has completely eclipsed the recreational aspect of the tract. Indeed, the tract seems to have been transformed into an industrial forest. I came here for hiking and nature photography, but I felt as though I were a guest on Seneca-owned land, not a visitor to public land paid for by the citizens of Pennsylvania. I noticed no other visitors in the tract, too; everyone I saw was a Seneca employee. The scenic vista on Bodine Mountain Road (noted on the Loyalsock State Forest map) was less than scenic when I visited; many drilling pads (some near, some far) were seen. The noise from trucks and compressors also diminished the recreational aspect. I won’t return here until most of the drilling ends.
This stream, Minister Creek, is a “Safe” zone for Brook Trout. It now has areas of bubbles and a thin oil sheen on its surface in addition to the Brine taste at the pump.
While setting up campsite just off the Loyalsock Trail at the old CCC Camp on Sandstone Lane, I heard an approaching Crew Truck with a loudspeaker blasting radio conversation with supervisors. As the Lane had been damaged in recent storms, they tried to drive thru a meadow and right thru my Campsite. There was no opening in the trees wide enough to pass and I told them so. They went back to the lane and bored thru the rutted, flood-gouged lane past my camp…
Recommendations from Citizen Reports
Where roads are narrow, especially in forested areas, there are often checkpoints set up by the operators in order to control two-way traffic. Often signs are not sufficiently visible/present/clear, so motorists may not realize the new rules. In Loyalsock State Forest, this has been an issue. As such, below are recreationalists’ recommendations regarding ways to reduce or avoid the issues currently arising from gas operations in this and other public areas:
- Seneca Resources Corp. and the DCNR should work together to better educate visitors on the need to stop at every checkpoint in this tract of Loyalsock State Forest (or in any forested area that is frequented by recreationalists).
- At each of the two entrances (Hagerman Run Road and Grays Run Road) to the tract from Pennsylvania Route 14, post a large, prominent sign about the need to stop at every checkpoint for two-way traffic control;
- Post clearly visible signs at every checkpoint; and
- On the DCNR Web site in the Advisories section of the Loyalsock State Forest page, post information about roads affected by two-way traffic control and the need to stop at checkpoints. (Currently, information about such roads is posted on the Road Advisories page on the DCNR Web site, but accessing this page from the home page is challenging. Also, the Road Advisories page doesn’t mention that motorists need to stop at checkpoints.)
Visit the Trail Logbook Project landing page for more information about this initiative, our partners, and to submit your own report.