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Old Posted May 28, 2004, 4:32 AM
wrightchr wrightchr is offline
joining the rail club
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 2,496
i'm all for this....i think this deal give the Army more space it needs, provides more land and links the current game lands in norhtern Dauphin and Lebanon counties, and preserves the topography of the area while changing the boundaries of the base. i'm an avid outdoorsman and i've actually hunted on portions of this land and fished most of stony creek when i was younger. i don't want to see this area ruined and i don't think it ever will be by letting the area become buffer zone for the Gap ranges. i think this can be a win/win situation for all parties involved. you might not really be interested in this Dave, but i thought i would post it


Hunters criticize proposed land swap
Friday, May 21, 2004

Of Our Lebanon Bureau

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP - For the Pennsylvania National Guard, a proposed land swap with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Harrisburg Water Authority is part of a fight to keep the Fort Indiantown Gap military reservation open and viable as a training base.

But for some area hunters and outdoorsmen, the proposal that would turn 1,800 acres of game lands on the north side of Second Mountain over to the National Guard would be an incursion on treasured landscape.

"This land is sacred to a lot of people," said Clyde Herr, of Union Twp., at a public meeting at Fort Indiantown Gap last night. About 40 people attended to ask questions and voice concerns.

The proposed three-way deal would involve the National Guard buying 1,800 acres of DeHart Reservoir watershed from the Harrisburg Water Authority and turning it over to the Game Commission. In turn, the commission would give up a six-mile strip of land along the north side of Second Mountain between Cold Spring Road and the Middle Paxton Twp. line. A bit more than half the land would be in Dauphin County.

National Guard officials said they need the land for a safety buffer for expanding firing ranges on the south side of Second Mountain. Tanks and artillery using the ranges shoot parallel to the ridge, but there is a chance of shells ricocheting over the mountain, they said.

Guard officials said they are trying to cram as many training activities as possible onto the 17,000-acre base to keep it viable. Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County's largest employer, came close to closing after a Base Realignment and Closing Commission decided the U.S. Army would pull out of the facility.

"The future didn't look so good in 1995," said Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver.

The buffer zone the Guard wants would extend down the north slope of Second Mountain to just short of Stony Creek. The land would not change under National Guard ownership, officials said. "The slope of second mountain today is the way it will be in the future," Cleaver said.

Guard officials said they would allow hunters and others access in the same way they allow access to other Gap land. But as with other National Guard land, it could be closed to the public to accommodate training activities, some hunters pointed out.

The western portion of the buffer zone might never be closed, base commander Col. Ray Hulings said. But the eastern portion, nearest Cold Spring Road, could be closed as much as half the time, Cleaver said. An effort would be made to keep it open during big-game hunting seasons.

The land the Guard wants would not include Stony Creek, the nearby rail trail, or the historic ruins at Cold Spring. Some who could accept that the current proposal probably wouldn't affect recreational possibilities in the game lands worried the Guard might not stop with this acquisition.

"How long is it going to be before tanks come into the [Stony Creek] valley?" Dennis Ibberson asked.

In the other part of the three-way deal, the land the Game Commission would get from Harrisburg could link Game Lands 211 and 210, thereby creating the largest game-lands area in the state, Game Commission officials have said.

Guard officials said the proposal is still in its early stages, and none of the three entities has approved the deal.

"We're going to keep right on pushing for new programs," Cleaver said.

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