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Topic: Old Loggers Path Threatened by Drilling, Please help< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 30 2012, 5:17 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The OLP, one of PA's most popular and beloved trails, is being threatened by potential drilling.

Several well pads are expected, as are pipelines and roads.  The undeveloped nature of this region and the trail may become a thing of the past.  

Below is a rudimentary map I received of potential well pad sites.



The state does not own the mineral rights under all state forest land, so drilling may be inevitable.  But the trail must be better protected with a buffer.  Wells should be kept away from the trail; pipelines and roads should be kept to a minimum where they may impact the trail.

Please speak up and contact the local state officials who represent this area:

State Senator Gene Yaw

http://senatorgeneyaw.com/contact.htm

State Rep. Garth Everett

geverett@pahousegop.com

Facebook.com/RepEverett

DCNR

ra-askdcnr@state.pa.us


Thank you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 11 2012, 4:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Email from the Forest Coalition.  Please help protect the OLP:

DCNR Can Protect the Old Loggers Path from Gas Drilling

Hikers,    

Just east of Rock Run* in Lycoming County is another unique area -  the remote Old Loggers Path -  It is a  27.3 mile loop that is a great weekend backpacking experience.  Far from the sounds of civilization, the OLP area is an oasis of quiet in an increasingly industrialized forest.  

The state can protect this remote area from unconventional natural gas development.     DCNR has unique authority in the area.


Long Story Short :

The state purchased the area in 1933 from Clarence Moore.  In the deed, Moore retained the mineral rights and was granted access for 50 years .

That 50 year period expired in 1983.  Commonwealth Court recently validated the wording of the deeds, which pertain to 18,700 acres. While mineral rights are now owned by Anadarko; they still must follow the restriction in the deeds.

Since DCNR has control of the surface; we must convince that agency to use their authority to protect the headwater wetlands, coldwater streams, species of special concern – and the Old Loggers Path in that remote forest area.

The area slated for drilling lies primarily inside the circle of the OLP.

Headwater wetlands in the area of the “Clarence Moore Tract” drain down Doe Run, Buck Run and Yellow Dog Run into Rock Run.

See the map in the link below  

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/hiking/loggermap.aspx

If you can’t hike the OLP trail, make plans now to visit the area by car.  The roads are in good shape, just perfect for a fall tour with your camera.
 
From the west, access the area via Rt. 14 at Ralston.

From the east, access the area via Rt. 87 at Hillsgrove.

Do it this year, because next year you could be seeing the aftermath

of industrialization in Loyalsock State Forest.

What’s at stake :

Imagine up to twenty wellpads, plus pipelines, compressor stations and roads built for 18-wheelers all over the area of the OLP circle.  Once the gas operations are underway, you won’t be able to access all areas because of security guards, huge trucks, construction and posting.

      PennFuture has written a letter to DCNR Secretary Rick Allan

http://www.scribd.com/doc/105498028/Letter-to-Secretary-Allan-9-7-12  

Use the statements from that letter and write to Secretary Allan. Tell him to use his trump card as determined by Commonwealth Court in the “Clarence Moore Decision”.



Secretary Richard J. Allan

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

PO Box 8767

400 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17105-8767
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 11 2012, 7:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Done.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2012, 11:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for your help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 17 2012, 10:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the Forest Coalition:

DCNR Can Protect Headwaters of Rock Run , Masten Ghost Town and the  27 mile Old Loggers Path.   The Court says so  .   .   .    But it’s up to you to convince him.



If you don’t, DCNR is poised to sign a surface-use agreement that will decimate this remote portion of Loyalsock State Forest.  Hemlocks will be replaced by drilling rigs, heavy truck traffic and 24/7 compressor stations along the Old Loggers Path.





Background



Usually, mineral rights trump surface owner rights. . . But not in this case.



The state Bureau of Forests & Waters bought the land in 1933.  Clarence Moore, the seller, retained the mineral rights and put a clause in the deed that granted him a 50 year access to the surface.  That clause expired in 1983.



Commonwealth Court has affirmed that clause, so DCNR has a unique opportunity to legally protect 18,870 acres of this area from development.  



This area is a unique and remote section of Loyalsock State Forest that lies in northeast Lycoming County. It includes the headwaters of the Exceptional Value Rock Run, the Devils Elbow Natural Area, the Old Loggers Path (a 27-mile circular hiking tail) and the Masten Ghost Town.



The Problem



Anadarko (and IDC) recently purchased those mineral rights. They finished seismic testing in August and are pushing DCNR to sign a surface-use agreement.



This agreement is the key. By virtue of the deeds, DCNR has the right to completely protect 18,870 acres from development. That agency does not have to allow Anadarko and IDC to use the surface. This is the only example we have ever heard of that allows DCNR to protect our public land in this manner.



Suggestions for writing an effective letter



In writing to DCNR Secretary Allan, please keep it factual.  Use one or two points from the “background info” above to demonstrate that you understand the situation, then use one or two of the “talking points” below to get you started.  Please blend those with your experiences of hunting, hiking and fishing in the area.  Copying everything looks like a form letter and decision-makers will ignore those.



Talking points





·         Our state forests are a public resource and the public must be involved.

·        The Rock Run / Masten / Old Loggers Path area is unique and must be protected, not exploited.

·        Given the ecological sensitivity and recreational significance of this area of the Loyalsock State Forest, any gas extraction or transmission operations in the forest would immediately and permanently impair pristine areas containing Exceptional Value streams and wetlands.  

·        DCNR must immediately publish maps showing the precise location of the 18,870-acre and 6,841-acre parcels in the Loyalsock State Forest and post them for public view on the DCNR website.

·        DCNR must publish all of its environmental impact studies related to the Rock Run headwaters / Old Loggers Path / Masten area development. Be transparent.

·        DCNR must hold public meetings on the issue to afford the stakeholders a meaningful opportunity to participate in DCNR’s decision-making.

·        Before making any final development decisions, Public Meetings should be combined with an explanation of the alternative development options, including “no action”.

·        For those who cannot attend the Public Meetings, there should be a 60-day Public Comment Period.

·        Anadarko should have the opportunity to present their BMP development  plans to the public.

·        Anadarko will request rights-of-way across some of DCNR’s 18,870-acres in order to access portions of their 6,841-acres. DCNR should be transparent regarding this by posting the maps on its public web site.

·        DCNR is legally obligated to exercise the unique control granted in the deeds in the best interests of the public.

·        Unconventional natural gas development will take place over the next century. There is no rush to exploit every area.

·        Future technological development will undoubtedly result in better cementing, fewer accidents and longer laterals. These are all good reasons to be slow and deliberate in approving all natural gas development.  

·        Consider all options for managing these exceptional areas. It’s a matter of a forest owned by the public – which is not just a ‘cash cow’ to be mindlessly expoited.

·        Under Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, DCNR has a legal duty to conserve and maintain State Forest lands for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians, including future generations.

·        DCNR may not grant a right-of-way unless it ensures that the surface will be protected. That mandates thorough environmental impact studies before granting any rights-of-way. Remember: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.



                                 

The public resources at stake are the very heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The public’s ecological, recreational, and economic interest in them is simply too important for decisions to be made without input from the public and sound science to document species at risk and harm to the environment.                      



U.S.P.S. is the best way to have an impact.



A letter may sound “old-fashioned”, but it can’t be deleted with one keystroke and is more business-like. It takes handling and is already a hardcopy.



Address correspondence to:

     

Richard J. Allan, Secretary

Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

Rachel Carson State Office Building

P.O. Box 8767

400 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17105-8767

If you can’t afford the stamp,

Rick’s e-mail is rjallan@pa.gov



Please CC your legislators.

Find their contact information via

www.legis.state.pa.us and enter your

zip code in the upper-right corner.



Thank you for taking the time to protect a part of PA Wilds.

One who speaks out is louder than 10,000 who remain silent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 22 2012, 5:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Done . . . twice.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 23 2012, 12:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Done.

I let Secretary Allan know that there are folks from as far away as Texas that like to venture out in the woods of the Keystone State, and that we come from Texas to get away from the very thing his state is about to allow.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 24 2012, 7:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks to the both of you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 24 2012, 9:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't ever do this, but done.  Not that I don't believe in the cause, I don't believe any of the decision makers actually care.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2012, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for your help.

Politics is about numbers.  If more people speak up, they will care.

Politicians may not realize how important these trails and public lands are to the people.  Few politicians have been exposed to these trails and public lands.

That is why we need to show them how special these places are.

We can do nothing, say nothing.  And it will get us nothing.  Or we can speak up, and we may actually be able to convince a few people.  And if that means the OLP and the Loyalsock SF are more protected, it would be well worth the effort for not only future generations, but also this one.

The Loyalsock SF is one of the most scenic public lands in the Mid-Atlantic.  It is a treasure I hope our kids and grandkids will be able to cherish like we have.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2012, 3:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Whoops.  I did it again.  Sometimes all of these email accounts come in handy.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2012, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks NG.

The letters and attention to this issue are beginning to have an effect.  The local state rep has acknowledged the beauty of the area, and the DCNR secretary is aware of the concerns.

More info here:

http://keepitwildblog.blogspot.com/2012....ue.html
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 09 2012, 4:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the Forest Coalition:

"DCNR has given us permission to perform preliminary survey studies, which includes staking the area to show where development locations could be and guide our environmental assessment of the area," states Mary B. Wolf, an Anadarko spokeswoman.



Activists push Pa. to restrict drilling in tract



By Andrew Maykuth

Inquirer Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 9, 2012



Environmental activists are pressuring the state to restrict Marcellus Shale drilling on 18,780 acres in a popular recreational area of northern Pennsylvania, where they say the state has a rare opportunity to control natural-gas extraction because of a 1933 deed restriction.



The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is being pressed to put the brakes on gas development in the Loyalsock State Forest, where an exploration company has begun staking out drilling locations near the Old Loggers Path, a 27-mile loop trail that DCNR says "offers stunning vistas and clear, cold, cascading streams."



Six organizations, including Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, say the state has rebuffed their requests to disclose drilling plans for the forest. They received no response from DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan to a Sept. 7 letter calling on the agency to hold public hearings on the drilling plans.



"There is no precedent for holding a public meeting on a development plan," Chris Novak, the agency's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. She said that no drilling has been approved for the disputed area in Lycoming and Sullivan Counties.



Anadarko Petroleum Corp., of Woodlands, Texas, which owns or leases the mineral rights under the forest, acknowledged that it had been in discussions with the state over developing the Loyalsock.

"DCNR has given us permission to perform preliminary survey studies, which includes staking the area to show where development locations could be and guide our environmental assessment of the area," Mary B. Wolf, an Anadarko spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.



DCNR itself has touted the area, which includes the Rock Run stream, as exceptional. "Few streams in Pennsylvania can match Rock Run's rich tapestry of deep, crystal-clear pools, cascading waterfalls and massive, weathered rock formations," an agency official said in a 2008 DCNR news release.



The environmental groups complain that DCNR's caginess reflects the Corbett administration's favoritism toward development of the Marcellus Shale, which the governor regards as the cornerstone of a rejuvenated Pennsylvania energy industry.



"This is kind of emblematic of the administration's approach to the public," said Richard Martin, coordinator of the Pennsylvania Forest Coalition, which has urged its members to write to DCNR's Allan.

Loyalsock State Forest lies above some of the most productive land in the Marcellus Shale, which has been generating a growing income for Harrisburg. About 725,000 of the state's 2.1 million acres of forests have been leased for gas development.



Marcellus Shale royalties quadrupled from $10.7 million in 2010 to $41.8 million last year. Through August of this year, the state has generated $41.5 million in royalties from Marcellus wells, matching last year's income in the first eight months of 2012. But the state earns no royalties on 290,000 acres of state forest under which it does not own the mineral rights. That includes several substantial tracts of the Loyalsock.



The state typically would have little control over drilling activity on land where it does not own the mineral rights. Courts have ruled consistently that mineral rights trump surface rights - the sub-surface owner needs access to the land in order to mine or drill the minerals.

But environmental groups say that an unusual covenant in the deed to 18,780 acres of the Loyalsock gives the state uncommon power to control the surface activity.

In 1933, the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Co. sold the land to the state and kept the "mineral estate" for itself. The deed allowed the owner of the mineral rights access to the surface for 50 years.



In the 1980s, after the 50-year-provision expired, the state asserted that the mineral rights reverted to the state. But the Commonwealth Court in 1989 ruled that the mineral rights belonged to the current owner, a man named Clarence Moore. Moore still owned the mineral rights, but he no longer had surface access - the rights had expired in 1983.

The ruling was reaffirmed in 1999 by the Pennsylvania Board of Claims.

Moore later sold ownership of the mineral rights, which is now split between Anadarko and International Development Corp. IDC has leased its interest to Southwestern Energy Co.



Environmental groups discovered the provisions while researching the deeds in the Lycoming County Courthouse, said Ralph Kisberg, the president of the Responsible Drilling Alliance in Williamsport.

Mark Szybist, a PennFuture lawyer, said that the state could use the deed restrictions to force Anadarko to reduce the disturbance to the sensitive forests in exchange for surface access. Anadarko could also use horizontal drilling techniques to access the property from adjacent land it is leasing.

"We're saying these are public lands and the public should have a say in how those lands will be used," Szybist said.



DCNR says the issue is not open to discussion.



"It is DCNR's job to balance the many uses of our state forest lands, including recreational uses and mineral extraction," Novak said. "As you know, our state forests are independently certified as well-managed, and that acknowledges that we do a pretty good job balancing uses and protecting the future health of the public lands."



Anadarko says it, too, is mindful of the area's natural beauty.

"We recognize the importance of public lands in Pennsylvania, including the Loyalsock State Forest," said Wolf, the company's spokeswoman.



"As with all of our operations, and in particular on state forest land, we are looking to minimize surface disturbance and protect special places like Rock Run."



She said Anadarko would continue to work with DCNR and the state Department of Environmental Protection "to communicate approved plans as appropriate." *



Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly....o1EAISL









* Ed Note:  That could be interpreted as "we'll let you know when it's a 'done deal' and you can't do anything about it".  



As of today it is NOT a done deal.  

It is irresponsible of DCNR to sign any surface access agreement without first studying the area to determine what species of special concern should be protected, and how.



           If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.   It's that simple.



Write to Secretary Allan at rjallan@pa.gov , agingrich@pa.gov , ddevlin@pa.gov , tborawski@pa.gov and cc coalition-secretay@comcast.net and your State Representative and Senator.



It's our State Forest.    We should have input.  

One who speaks out is louder than 10,000 who remain silent.

R. Martin   Coordinator     www.PaForestCoalition.org
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 09 2012, 4:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sign the petition:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveolp/signatures
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 15 2012, 8:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Apparently Backpacker magazine mentioned the OLP in the latest issue.  Thanks for bringing some light to the issue, I hope they will continue to do so.

Publicity in Backpacker Magazine

Page 34 of the November issue has a brief writeup about natural gas activities and the Old Loggers Path, entitled  "Pa Trails Fracked".



"Anyone who's been paying attention to the clamor over natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania knows the hikers in the state are facing a crisis, as gas well construction in state forestland threatens to overtake mountaintopps, reroute trails, and disturb the natural quiet.



Whichever side of the debate you're on, you at least have one easy course of action:  

Hike all you can before the scenery changes.  Devote one weekend to the Old Loggers's Path, a 27.1 mile loop in isolated north-central PA with a trailhead in the ghost town of Masten.  It's rarely hiked, but offers views of broad, wooded valleys and gurgling waterfalls.

Plus, the trail is wide and smoothly-graded, perfect for cross-country skiing if it's snow-covered.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 20 2012, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.sungazette.com/page....av=5011

Another article in the Williamsport paper.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2012, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm planning to do the loop this week to see what's going on and get pictures to go with the letter.  I'll take a map of the proposed well sites to see what I can find.  Last time I looped the OLP in June there were around 20 seismometers and a lot of multicolored ribbons (including orange ribbons) to confuse me, figured out to only trust orange blazes on the trees and not any ribbons.

PLEASE HELP SAVE THE OLP FROM HYDROFRACKING - Have you ever seen Rock Run???


-Yellow dog falls at Rock Run


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 29 2012, 5:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the Forest Coalition:

Hi Hikers,



So many have requested the map of where the Old Loggers Path will be developed for natural gas that we decided to send it to everyone.



Backpacker Magazine told you to hike the OLP while you can, before the scenery changes and guard shacks appear.



Below is a map of the impacted areas on the beautiful 27 mile loop located just 15 miles N/E of Williamsport [ as the crow flies ].



Access it via Rt. 14 (Ralston) or Rt.87 (Proctor or Hillsgrove ).



It’s a beautiful stroll through the hemlocks in the fall. Hike it before it’s destroyed.

                                 

Our eleven days of fieldwork in the area has found multiple wellpads in three different areas of the OLP, plus flagging which indicates over 26 miles of heavy-duty roadways and pipelines all over the area.  



Hike the OLP this fall and note where you see flagging.  Please report those locations to Coaliton-Secretary@comcast.net



If you want to express an opinion, write to DCNR Secretary Rick Allan and tell him that the stakeholders demand public meetings and full disclosure of the flora & fauna at risk. DCNR has not even performed a complete Environmental Impact Study.

 

Commonwealth Court’s “Clarence Moore Decision”, gave DCNR full control over 18,870 acres [ 74 % ] of the area. Protect the Old Loggers Path today, so it is there for the future.





DCNR Secretary Rick Allan’s number is (717) 772 – 9084.  Expect Rick’s handler, Adam Gingerich to answer. I doubt if he has hiked the OLP, or even driven through the area, but:


By e-mail:

rjallan@pa.gov , ddevlin@pa.gov , agingrich@pa.gov
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 30 2012, 4:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I guess the development saves them some money since there will be no need to spend tax dollars reopening roads . . .

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 9:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From KTA

http://www.kta-hike.org/index.p....emid=26
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From the Forest Coalition:


Natural gas drilling is set to sever the Old Loggers Path in at least four areas . It doesn't have to happen. That area can be controlled by DCNR because of a unique 1932 deed restriction.  



The law is on our side because of the deeds which control 74% of the area.  DCNR has the authority to protect Rock Run – but does the agency have the will ?



Editor’s note: This can be a landmark case for conservation – or a horrible example of a missed opportunity to protect 26,000 acres of Loyalsock State Forest. It's up to you.



By Karl Blankenship,Chesapeake Bay Journal [edited for length].

Brook Lenker aimed the van along a dirt road that wound though a narrow valley filled with hardwood trees that had gone largely undisturbed for decades. Waterfalls poured down the mountainside in places, and hemlocks provided a touch of green along streams as leaves of other trees adopted their autumn orange and yellow hues.

This was part of Loyalsock State Forest; much of the land was bought from the Pennsylvania Lumber Company in the early 1930s after it had logged the area. Shortly thereafter, the Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corps set up several camps in the area to reclaim the land and the forest.
•Photos & maps at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paforestcoalition/page1/  

Today, its expansive woodlands provide critical habitat for forest-dwelling birds; its clear streams draw anglers in search of brook trout; and popular trails cross its valleys and plateaus, including the Old Loggers Path, one of the state's most popular long-distance trails.

Lenker pulled the van to a stop and led a small group down a wooded slope to what many consider one of the Loyalsock's greatest gems — Rock Run.

"I've heard Rock Run referred to as the prettiest stream in Pennsylvania," said Lenker . . . But the calm around Rock Run, several warned, is deceiving.

The headwaters for Rock Run are in the seeps and wetlands on the plateau, and local conservationists worry that any drilling there could forever change what the state considers an "exceptional value" waterway.

Foresters warned that opening additional lands to drilling would endanger the environmental quality of the forests and threatened outside certification that the state forests are being sustainably managed. That certification adds value to Pennsylvania's $6 billion forest product industry.

In October 2010, four months before leaving office, Rendell signed an executive order imposing a moratorium on opening additional state forests to drilling. He cited the need to conserve "the most significant tracts of undisturbed forest remaining in the state. Failing to protect these acres will significantly alter the ecological integrity and wild character of our state forest system."

Although DCNR does not own most of the mineral rights in the area of “the Clarence Moore Tracts”, the unusual deed restriction gives the state DCNR an right to restrict development on 18,870 acres [74 % ] of the area in question.

That right was upheld by Commonwealth Court in 1989 which concluded that "access subsequent to March 28, 1983, is controlled by the Commonwealth." That conclusion was upheld again by the state Board of Claims in 1999.

The discovery of Anadarko's stakes and flags marking apparent drilling sites has worried conservation groups that the DCNR is ceding its ability to regulate what happens on the surface.

In a September 7 letter to DCNR Secretary Richard Allan, conservation groups contend that the state would need to specifically grant a right-of-way to Anadarko to work on the surface, but it cannot do so under state law if the right-of-way would "so adversely affect the land as to interfere with its usual and orderly administration." The letter contends drilling would likely adversely affect Rock Run, a state-designated exceptional value stream.

See maps and photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paforestcoalition/page2/

Szybist said he believes the state is trying to make the ownership issue sound more complex than is the case to justify allowing access to the disputed tract. "We've heard that the state is afraid of being sued by Anadarko. But the state's legal position is so strong, they shouldn't fear that at all." Szybist said. "I suspect that the state's apparent willingness to cooperate with Anadarko has other motives."

Environmentalists say there are ample reasons to put the brakes on drilling activities in the Loyalsock. A report by The Nature Conservancy last year estimated that between 100,000–240,000 acres of forest will be cleared during the next two decades to make way for drill pads, pipelines and other drilling-related infrastructure.

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, potential forest loss is estimated at 45,000 to 110,000 acres. The draft federal Chesapeake Bay 2013 action plan directs federal agencies to explore the impact of Marcellus shale drilling on brook trout.

Scientists and EPA officials have indicated any increased nutrient and sediment runoff from drilling activities would need to be offset with reductions elsewhere to meet, and maintain, pollution limits set in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or pollution diet.

Critics say drilling in the Loyalsock would ruin the experience of hiking the popular 27-mile Old Loggers Path which winds through the area and draws hikers from as far as New England because of its spectacular scenery.

Paul Zeph, director of conservation with Pennsylvania Audubon, said the spider web pattern of forest clearing created by pipelines, widened roads and drill pads would be particularly devastating for forest birds.

The Loyalsock is designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society because its large hardwood tracts provide refuge for interior forest-dwelling birds such as the scarlet tanager, wood thrush, black-throated warbler, black-throated green warbler and acadian flycatcher. These birds often nest on or near the ground in forests that once provided them safety.

As forests are fragmented by drill pads, roads and pipelines, the birds become vulnerable to predation by blue jays, raccoons and other species that live along forest edges, but venture short distances into the woods to forage. The more woodland is fragmented, the less "safe" interior habitat is left for forest-dwelling birds, and their populations typically plummet as fragmentation increases.

"This is such an important place that we cannot believe the state would allow this to be fragmented and the natural resources that live here to be impacted," Zeph said. "There are not very many places like this that are so precious in Pennsylvania."
•Aerial photos of Tioga State Forest drilling available at     http://www.flickr.com/photos/paforestcoalition/page3/



Editor’s note: This can be a landmark case for conservation – or a horrible example of a missed opportunity to protect 26,000 acres of Loyalsock State Forest.  We need public meetings and a complete inventory of the species of special concern in the area.  If they can’t measure it, they can’t manage it.



=======================================================

Read the full article at

http://www.bayjournal.com/article....streams  



Please write to DCNR Secretary Rick Allan at rjallan@pa.gov.  Quote freely from the CBJ article and convince him to broker an agreement with Anadarko which protects the OLP and the headwater streams.





R. Martin   Coordinator     www.PaForestCoalition.org

Mission: Good Stewardship of our Public Lands
Caring for what God has created
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 11 2012, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://sungazette.com/page....av=5011

Another article in the Williamsport paper re: Rock Run.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 11 2012, 6:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://hikethehighlands.outdoors.org/p/marcellus-shale.html

The AMC has launched a website to highlight some of PA's special places affected by drilling, including the OLP and Rock Run.  Some of my pics are on the website.  Thanks to the AMC for bringing their attention and support to this issue.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 29 2013, 4:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At the Center of a Boom,

a Pennsylvania Forest in the Balance



Allegheny Front Radio

Reid Frazier

Be sure to see the photos at

http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story....balance

Rock Run is a crystal clear stream that runs down through Loyalsock State Forest. It drains a part of the Old Loggers Path, one of the state’s best hiking trails. There is drilling to the North, and to the South. But until recently, it looked like trail and the stream would be spared from development in the Marcellus shale.

For Ralph Kisberg, that changed last summer. “Someone [called] me to say, what’s going on in Rock Run? The frackers are up there! They’re all over the place!”

Kisberg is president of the environmental group the Responsible Drilling Alliance. White pickups were seen running up and down the small forest roads above Rock Run.

"One family I’m close with said, if they get rock run, we’re leaving. That’s it. We’re out of here," Kisberg said. "They love it here, but they’re not sticking around if Rock Run is part of this development."

Kisberg drove around the forest, and realized the trucks were there to conduct seismic testing -- a preliminary step before drilling can take place.

A FOREST MYSTERY

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which manages the forest, made no public statements about the testing. So Kisberg did some research of his own.

With an attorney, he researched the land records for the Old Loggers Path, and found out that Anadarko, a Houston-based energy company, owned half the mineral rights to the land beneath the trail.

That explained the seismic testing. Anadarko has drilled 150 deep shale wells on state forest lands in the region near Williamsport, including in nearby Sproul and Tiadaghton State Forests.  

But the research turned up something else. The land under the Old Loggers Path is subject to a complicated legal history, and its future could hinge on an obscure clause inserted into an 80-year-old land deal.

At one time, the land was owned by the Central Pennsylvania Lumber company. In 1933, the company sold the land to the state, but kept the mineral rights.

Normally, this means the company would have an unbridled right to come onto the land to drill or mine for coal.

But in this case, the land was essentially put on a timer. The company would have 50 years to extract the minerals. After that, the rights of surface access for 18,000 acres of forest--a tract of land a little bigger than Manhattan--went back to the state.

Les Greevy, an oil and gas attorney in Williamsport, said this was a rare case where the surface owner had an upper hand over the mineral owner.

“If you want to come on it you’re going to have to negotiate … with DCNR with regards to what you’re going to pay for it and what are the conditions going to be,” Greevy said.

Eventually, a man named Clarence Moore aquired the mineral rights to the land. In 1983, after the 50 year period expired, Moore tried to regain surface access.

But in 1989, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rebuffed him. It said the DCNR could keep drillers off the land if it wanted to.

STATE REMAINS TIGHT-LIPPED

Despite this decision, and a 1999 Pennsylvania Board of Claims decision upholding that decision, the agency doesn’t agree.

“As the law applies DCNR can’t prohibit access to subsurface mineral rights if we don’t own them,” said Chris Novak DCNR’s press secretary.

Other DCNR officials have said Anadarko and other companies could sue if the state tries to keep the company off the Old Loggers Path.

Novak and the DCNR remain tight-lipped about the agency’s discussions with Anadarko. But Kisberg and others grew alarmed last year when survey markers for what looked like well pads began showing up in the forest.

Records obtained by the Responsible Drilling Alliance through right-to-know requests raised alarms even more--revealing that Anadarko has been talking with the state about a development plan for the forest for much of the past year. The details of those plans remain unclear.

An Anadarko spokeswoman would only say that no development plans had been approved for the Loyalsock State Forest--the home forest for the Old Loggers Path.

Mark Szybist, an attorney for Penn Future who has been working on the case, says the state shouldn’t keep its plans for the forest from the public.

“It’s not right for DCNR to be making these decisions on its own without any public review of the documents,” Szybist said. “You know, if DCNR is so confident that it’s going to make the right decision, then why not let the public look over its shoulder a little bit, and have a seat at the table.”

The DCNR counters that the state simply doesn’t do public reviews of drilling plans on public lands.

REFUGE IN PERIL?

The debate is only heightened because the state has already leased 700,000 acres of forest land--that’s a third of the entire state forest system. That means places like the Old Loggers’ Path are becoming more rare, says Paul Zeph, director of conservation for the state’s Audubon Society.

“This is one of the places in the state that should be off limits,” Zeph said.

The forest is known habitat for species like the timber rattlesnake and pitcher plants. A DCNR survey of the area conducted in advance of seismic testing found  rare plants like creeping snowberry and the great-spurred violet, which is a so-called “proposed rare” plant in Pennsylvania.

The area contains large blocks of forest that have rebounded from years of mining and timbering in the past, Zeph says. Numerous springs and seeps keep it wet. That’s good for bugs, and the bugs are good food for migratory songbirds, like the scarlet tanager, wood thrush and black-throated blue warbler--who nest there. Plus these forest blocks are quiet, and the birds like that.

The forests in the area “have become a quiet, important refuge area for these species to reproduce,” Zeph says.

No matter how careful DCNR and Anadarko plan the development, drilling is loud and disruptive. And it would chase away some of these birds, Zeph said.

“The noise the air pollution, the fragmentation will send them away,” Zeph said. “And there’s nowhere else in Pennsylvania for them to go.”
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 29 2013, 4:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The message to protect Rock Run continues to spread, here some whitewater paddlers have made a great video of their trip down this beautiful stream.  Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMcvbVs4iHY&feature=share
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 16 2013, 5:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the Forest Coalition:

Lycoming County's Old Loggers Path  and the headwaters of the EV stream "Rock Run" are at risk.   KTA and  eight other organizations strive to protect the area of the OLP  during development of natural gas drilling.

Please forward this message to your contacts.  .   .    It's that important.
 
Groups ask for a hearing on DCNR's secret negotiations
 
http://jjadhoc.blogspot.com/2013....nr.html
 
It is the first time that these nine organizations have ever united to ask their legislators for a public hearing - after all, these are public lands :
 
Keystone Trails Association, Trout Unlimited,  PA Forest Coalition , Loyalsock Watershed Association, Lycoming Watershed Association , Responsible Drilling Alliance, PennFuture,  Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Club.

Read the letter at

http://www.scribd.com/doc....CHMENTS
 
Contact your State Legislators and add your voice.  

Tell your Representative and Senator that you want the Environmental Resources and Energy [ER & E ] Committee to hold public hearings on the Clarence Moore Tracts in Loyalsock State Forest.   After all, DCNR has full legal surface control on 74% of the area.  That agency can protect the headwater wetlands and core forest habitat.   You have to encourage them to do so.

Please forward this message to your contacts .  .   .    It's that important

    ==================================================
R. Martin   Coordinator    www.PaForestCoalition.org


Mission: Good Stewardship of our Public Lands
Caring for what God has created

Republicans for Environmental Protection
http://www.repamerica.org/

One who speaks out is louder than 10,000 who remain silent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Please speak up:

Use the link below, from PennEnvironment, to send a letter to state officials.

https://secure3.convio.net/engage....app331b
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 5:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Over and over again.  I've been following the KTAs postings on Facebook.

Keep speaking up!
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Thanks Spindle.

Here is a nice post on a website re: Rock Run.  Great pics.

http://www.kyleshikes.com/1/post/2013/02/exploring-rock-run.html
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 27 2013, 10:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's so beautiful.  I love Rock Run.
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