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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 16-1427



[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 135 ]

Lands and Buildings; State Game Lands

[46 Pa.B. 5084]
[Saturday, August 20, 2016]

 To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its July 19, 2016, meeting, amended § 135.41 (relating to State game lands) to prohibit the operation, control, retrieval or launching of unmanned aerial vehicles on or from lands and waters designated as State game lands.

 The final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.

 The authority for the final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).

 Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 46 Pa.B. 3258 (June 25, 2016).

1. Purpose and Authority

 The Commission has observed a dramatic, if not explosive, increase in the popularity and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly referred to as drones) across this Commonwealth during the past year. This increase has unfortunately resulted in unintended uses on lands designated as State game lands that compromise the purposes for which these lands were acquired. These activities range from degradation of the natural and scenic values of these lands to actual wildlife disturbance and harassment activities. The Commission is also concerned that use of these devices on State game lands may expand to interference with lawful hunting and trapping activities in the future. The Commission amends § 135.41 to prohibit the operation, control, retrieval or launching of unmanned aerial vehicles on or from lands and waters designated as State game lands. However, the amendment specifically limits the applicability of this prohibition activities specifically authorized by the Commission in writing or any Federal, State or local government response to fire, rescue, police or other emergency matter or engagement in legitimate governmental function.

 Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''[t]he 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.'' The amendments to § 135.41 are adopted under this authority.

2. Regulatory Requirements

 The final-form rulemaking amends § 135.41 to prohibit the operation, control, retrieval or launching of unmanned aerial vehicles on or from lands and waters designated as State game lands.

3. Persons Affected

 Persons wishing to operate, control, retrieve or launch unmanned aerial vehicles on or from lands or waters designated as State game lands will be affected by this final-form rulemaking.

4. Comment and Response Summary

 There were no official comments received regarding the final-form rulemaking.

5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements

 This final-form rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.

6. Effective Date

 This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.

7. Contact Person

 For further information regarding the final-form rulemaking, contact Thomas P. Grohol, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.


 The Commission finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendment adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

 (2) The adoption of the amendment of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.


 The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:

 (a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 135, are amended by amending § 135.41 to read as set forth at 46 Pa.B. 3258.

 (b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and 46 Pa.B. 3258 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-396 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1427. Filed for public inspection August 19, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]

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