The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved a host of land acquisitions that will add more than 700 acres to state game lands.
The largest and most-critical acquisition comes in the addition of 392 acres that will connect State Game Lands 46 and 156 in Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County. The land is being exchanged in part for a 9.36-acre Game Commission property in Brady Township, Huntingdon County, that includes Huntingdon Area School District’s vacant 27,000-square-foot Brady Henderson Elementary School, which the agency purchased in 2014, intending to renovate the school to serve as the agency’s Southcentral Region Office.
Ken and Christa Boone of Alabaster House approached the Commission and offered to participate in a land exchange to acquire the school and its grounds for the appraised value of $200,000. The Commission is providing an additional $241,679 lump-sum to be paid with other cost-sharing funds from third-party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses occurring on game lands from previously approved projects.
The former school and its grounds became available for exchange after the Game Commission determined not to relocate the Southcentral Region Office.
This acquisition was made possible through the efforts of Natural Lands Trust Inc. which successfully received supplementary funding through partnership grants provided by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Highlands Conservation Act. Covenants, conditions, and restrictions associated with these funding sources will be required to accept the property. Access to the game lands’ addition is from Route 501.
The following land transactions were also approved:
A donation of 222 acres adjoining State Game Lands 42 in Jenner Township, Somerset County, from Marion Leonard on behalf of Leonard’s Land Preservation LLC. Access is from Roaring Run Road.
The purchase of about 81 acres adjoining State Game Lands 55 in North Centre Township, Columbia County, from Press Enterprise Inc. for a lump-sum option price of $80,000 to be paid with funds from the Game Fund. The tract provides critical access from the south into the game land’s western reaches, and therefore, the Commission can exceed its $400-per-acre limit provided under the Game and Wildlife Code. The property is subject to a reciprocal easement and maintenance agreement with G. Robbins, and easements and assignments with American Towers LLC and ATC Sequoia LLC. Access is from Mountain Road.
A donation of 6 acres adjoining State Game Lands 156 in Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, from Patricia E. Krall. Access is through the game lands.