[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 135 ]
Lands and Buildings; State Game Lands
[43 Pa.B. 7443]
[Saturday, December 21, 2013]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) proposed at its September 24, 2013, meeting to amend § 135.41 (relating to State game lands) to limit the availability of the fire exception to only licensed hunters, trappers or fishermen and through hikers within the corridor of the Appalachian Trail.
The proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for the proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
The proposed rulemaking was made public at the September 24, 2013, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until January 24, 2014, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
The Commission has historically permitted the use of small open fires on State game lands for cooking or warming purposes by licensed hunters, trappers or fishermen and through hikers within the corridor of the Appalachian Trail. The continued support for the use of small open fires by these users has not diminished. However, the Commission has identified an increasing number of fires being set and maintained by persons using the State game lands for other than their intended uses. In an effort to discourage and reduce the occurrence of these unintended uses, the Commission is proposing to limit the availability of the fire exception in § 135.41(a) to only licensed hunters, trappers or fishermen and through hikers within the corridor of the Appalachian Trail.
Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''The administration of all lands or waters owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the commission shall be under the sole control of the director, and the commission shall promulgate regulations . . . for its use and protection as necessary to properly manage these lands or waters.'' Section 741(b) of the code (relating to commission actions for damage to buildings or property) provides ''The commission shall promulgate regulations to protect users, improvements, lands and buildings under its control. These regulations shall cover, but need not be limited to: (1) Removal of any material[;] (2) Damage of any kind[; and] (3) Any other regulations required to properly protect and preserve these lands for their intended use.'' The amendments to § 135.41 are proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will amend § 135.41 to limit the availability of the fire exception to only licensed hunters, trappers or fishermen and through hikers within the corridor of the Appalachian Trail.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to use small open fires for cooking or warming purposes on State game lands may be affected by the proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
The proposed rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.
5. Effective Date
The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
6. Contact Person
For further information regarding the proposed rulemaking, contact Richard R. Palmer, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
CARL G. ROE,
Fiscal Note: 48-358. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 135. LANDS AND BUILDINGS
Subchapter C. STATE GAME LANDS
§ 135.41. State game lands.
(a) Restrictions limited. The following exceptions to § 135.2 (relating to unlawful actions) pertain to lands and waters designated as State game lands:
* * * * *
(2) [Small open fires for cooking or warming purposes are permitted only at places where adequate precautions are taken to prevent the spread of fire which may damage adjacent areas and shall be attended at all times and completely extinguished before leaving the site of the fire. Open fires are prohibited when the fire index rating used by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is high, very high or extreme.] Small open fires for cooking or warming purposes may be kindled, used and maintained by persons exercising the privileges of a valid hunting, furtaking or fishing license and through hikers within the corridor of the Appalachian Trail as is defined in § 135.42 (relating to Appalachian Trail). This exception to the prohibition on fires in § 135.2(8) is applicable only when the small fires are located at places where adequate precautions are taken to prevent the spread of fire and the small fires are attended at all times and completely extinguished before leaving the sites of the fires. This exception does not apply when the fire index rating used by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is high, very high or extreme for that area. A person causing a wildfire, in addition to possible criminal penalty, is liable for all damages, cost of extinguishing and fines.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-2367. Filed for public inspection December 20, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]
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