Pa agencies and residents can work together to stop chronic wasting disease
Pa agencies and residents can work together to stop chronic wasting disease
resource header image: Bright red and yellow folliage in a forest clearing.
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
October 14, 2020
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
A whitetailed deer stands in the woods.
Cooperation is Key to Managing Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania
A big part of Pennsylvania’s outdoor heritage is hunting. All 20 of Pennsylvania’s state forests, totaling 2.2 million acres, and 97 of the 121 state parks are open to hunting during established hunting seasons.
As hunters head to the field, efforts continue to slow the expansion of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Contagious and always-fatal chronic wasting disease detections have been increasing in Pennsylvania’s deer since the disease was first discovered in the state in 2012.
CWD-positive deer have been detected within more than half (11 of 20) of state forest district boundaries.
All or portions of Bald Eagle, Buchanan, Clear Creek, Forbes, Gallitzin, Michaux, Moshannon, Rothrock, Tuscarora, Weiser, and William Penn state forest districts (as well as several state parks), fall within a CWD Disease Management Area, affecting nearly 400,000 acres of DCNR-managed lands. Read more
A person rides a kayak in a fast creek wearing a life vest, helmet, and gloves.
White-Water Release Into Tohickon Creek Planned for Bucks County Annual Boating Opportunity
White-water boating enthusiasts once again are likely to converge on Bucks County’s Tohickon Creek Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8, when DCNR releases water from Lake Nockamixon into Tohickon Creek.
The white-water releases from the Nockamixon State Park dam provide suitable whitewater boating conditions downstream through Ralph Stover State Park from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. each day.
Suggested hours for viewing the release and boating activity are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at Ralph Stover.
Most boaters launch their craft at Ralph Stover State Park, near Pipersville, Bucks County, and travel some four miles along the Tohickon Creek to its junction with the Delaware River at Point Pleasant. Read more
Two people walk two dogs down a stone path in the woods during fall..
DCNR Seeking Applicants for 2021 Trail Advisory Committee
DCNR is accepting letters of interest and resumes for committee members to represent people with disabilities and snowmobiling user groups and fill three members-at-large positions. Members will serve a three-year term starting Friday, January 1, 2021.
“Never before has there been such an interest in Pennsylvania’s outdoors and the state’s trail system has been among the strongest magnets, drawing those seeking refuge from these trying times in the solitude of nature,” Dunn said. “Incoming committee members will be tasked with not only meeting this strong demand but also charting new paths for new trails devotees to follow.”
Committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, DCNR is striving for a balance of composition of the committee, including representation of geographical areas of the state.
The committee is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to develop a statewide land and water trail network that facilitates recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles. Read more
A tick with black legs, head, and red body crawls on fabric.
Protect Yourself from Ticks, Mosquitoes While Outdoors During Fall Months
As people continue to spend time outdoors during the fall months, the Wolf Administration wants to remind residents of the dangers of tick and mosquito-borne illnesses, and to take steps to protect themselves.
“Fall is for many the best time for hiking with beautiful colors, crisp air, and fewer bugs, but many people are surprised to learn that there are ticks that remain active throughout the year, so it’s always important to take preventative measures so you can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of being in the outdoors,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
Before heading outdoors, it is important to cover exposed skin, wear light-colored clothing (to aid in insect detection), tuck your pants into your socks, and use an insect repellent containing 20 percent or more DEET.
You also can treat your clothing with a product containing permethrin to repel ticks. These steps will help protect you from both ticks and mosquitoes. Read more
Dave Saidoo and Lesli Barnett stand wearing bright green shirts
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Lesli Barnett and Dave Saidoo are two kayakers with a passion for bobber gobbling. What is bobber gobbling?
Bobber gobbling is the act of rescuing fishing bobbers and lures from trees and shorelines of lakes or other waterways. In the process of bobber gobbling, Lesli and Dave also collect lead weights, hooks, fishing line, and more.
While kayaking one day, Lesli and Dave came across a lost bobber stuck in a tree and managed to rescue it.
“It was fun and added interest to an otherwise typically enjoyable kayak trip. Then there was a lure, then another bobber and “bobber gobbling” was created,” Dave says. “We are now up to 1,088 bobbers and lures rescued.”
The pair enjoys collecting as much discarded fishing tackle as they can. They find it worthwhile not only because is it good for the environment and wildlife, but it is also good exercise and provides a shared hobby.
One of the best parts of bobber gobbling is being able to enjoy the sights and wildlife on the water.
Dave and Lesli have seen turtles, ducks, snakes, and a couple of bald eagles. Helping to keep lakes clean so these types of animals can thrive is important.
“These are the only lakes we have, and they should be respected and protected,” Dave says. “From an aesthetic perspective, bobbers, lures, and fishing line in trees is a deterrent from the natural beauty of the lake.”
Dave and Leslie also have met plenty of appreciative people who are thankful for their work.
One day, the pair was paddling along and saw a very nice frog lure in a tree.
“We get very excited when we find beautiful lures. I started to rescue it and a fisherman nearby said that he had just lost it not 10 minutes prior,” Dave says.
On the side of their kayak named “the extractor” it reads: Tackle Search & Rescue.
“Who would have ever expected for a “tackle search and rescue” team to come by minutes after a lure is lost?”
If you are interested in joining the fun, it’s as simple as taking a walk or paddle around a lake or other waterway.
“We have an inflatable sea eagle 360 which is perfect! Easy to transport, set up, and put away,” Dave says. “We pack a lunch and go out for the day bobber gobbling. It is the best of times and we believe others will also find joy as well.”
Dave and Lesli’s fifth version of their ‘bobber gobbler’ -- a repurposed golf ball retriever -- has been specially modified to help them collect as many items as they can easily.
“If this is all too much,” Dave says, “go for a walk around a lake with a trash bag, it is that simple.”
If you would like to see their collection of loot or curious how you could get involved as well, follow Dave and Lesli on Instagram @Bobbergobblers.  
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

Also in the News

Learn More About the New Outdoor Recreation Plan
Pennsylvania’s new statewide outdoor recreation plan, Recreation for All, is now available. To help recreation professionals learn more about the plan, DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation will host a series of fall webinars to guide them through it.
The webinars will take place from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. in October and November. Webinars are free, but advance registration is required.
Each webinar will focus on one of the plan’s five priority areas:
The Bureau of Recreation and Conservation is hosting the webinars in partnership with WeConservePA.
A deer stands i nthe woods among fallen banches and shrubs.
No Further Permission to Place Artificial Feed on DCNR Lands
Feeding wildlife has been a long-standing tradition for many in our state. People enjoy feeding wildlife because it allows them to have close contact with wildlife, or because they believe they are helping the animals survive.
While seeing wild animals up close can be enjoyable and may be grounded in good intentions, the negative consequences of feeding and the emergence of several new wildlife diseases indicate it is causing more harm than good.
In response to an increase in threats to Pennsylvania’s wildlife with the introduction of chronic wasting disease and other diseases, DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry and Bureau of State Parks will prohibit artificial feedings across state forest and state park land, except for elevated songbird feeders of less than ½ bushel capacity.
The bureaus’ rules and regulations specify that feeding of wildlife is prohibited without written permission from DCNR. This stricter policy will no longer allow forest districts to provide permission to hunt clubs or lease camps to place artificial feed on state forest land.
DCNR also will phase out all big game feeders that are currently on state forest land.
Wildlife feeding brings animals into closer contact with one another and for a longer period than under normal conditions.
This increased contact exposes them to infectious agents either left behind by diseased wildlife or through direct contact with wildlife at the feed site. 
Pennsylvania Joins Six States in Commitment to Plan for CO2 Transport Infrastructure
The Wolf Administration joined six other states in signing a memorandum of understanding that expresses a commitment to establish and implement a regional CO2 transport infrastructure plan by collaborating and leveraging resources across the participating states.
“DCNR has been engaged on the topic of carbon capture utilization and storage for nearly 20 years, and during this time, the department’s Bureau of Geological Survey has assessed numerous subsurface geologic resources that have potential to serve as carbon storage reservoirs,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
“Based on international research, we know that geologic carbon storage is a part of the mix of energy transition technologies necessary for achieving the 2-degree climate mitigation goal. The development of responsibly placed regional transport infrastructure will be key to ensuring Pennsylvania’s success in matching CO2 source to sinks and reducing our carbon footprint with this climate mitigation goal in mind.”
The signatory states will establish a coordination group that will undertake the development of an action plan, which will include state and regional policy recommendations related to CO2 transport infrastructure deployment. The release of the action plan is set for October 2021.
A rocky vista with forested mountains, fields, and clouds in the distance.
Nature Conservancy Helping PA’s Diverse Species Thrive in the Face of Climate Change
Scientists at The Nature Conservancy have identified and mapped a network of landscapes and connecting corridors across the United States with unique topographies, geologies, and other characteristics that can help nature survive in the face of climate change.
The scientists found that landscapes with diverse physical characteristics -- such as steep slopes, tall mountains, deep ravines, and diverse soil types -- create numerous microclimates that offer plants and animals the opportunity to move around their local “neighborhood” to find suitable habitat where they can escape rising temperatures, increased floods, or drought.
Among those that were identified as particularly noteworthy was the Kittatinny Ridge, which runs through the state of Pennsylvania for 185 miles, from the Mason Dixon Line to the upper Delaware River.
The Kittatinny Ridge was designated as a Conservation Landscape by DCNR, making it one of eight large regions across Pennsylvania working together to drive strategic investment and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects.
People tend to a garden in sweaters, gloves, and long pants. Text: Conservation Tip
There’s no need to rake up all those fallen leaves in your yard! Leaving some on the ground is not only good for wildlife like songbirds, but your garden as well. Check out these tips to provide good habitat for birds and plants:
  • Leave the leaves -- leaves provide food, shelter, and nesting materials to a variety of wildlife and insects, such as moth and butterfly pupae

  • Build a brush shelter -- branches, sticks, and leaves can be used to make brush piles that shelter native wildlife

  • Leave the seeds -- plants and grasses should be left standing over winter (seed-bearing perennials such as purple coneflower, Joe Pye weed, and sunflower provide food for songbirds)

  • Avoid chemical fertilizers -- grass clippings and mulched leaf litter can provide plant nutrition; chemical fertilizers can reduce beneficial insects
Multi colored trees on a lake shore. Text: Upcoming Events
Fall has arrived in Pennsylvania state parks and forests, which are great places to view fall foliage!
Check out these leaf-peeping events to catch a glimpse of the color:
Programs will be held under the following conditions:
  • Programs will be restricted to 25 participants or less. Check for registration requirements.
  • Social distancing is required during programs.
  • Participants must have a mask for use when social distancing is not possible.
  • Participants must bring their own hand sanitizer.
Check the DCNR calendar of events for additional events in state parks and forests.

Featured Photo

A wide creek flows past tall mountains covered in colorful foliage.
There is still lots of fall color in Tiadaghton State Forest! Check out this view looking north up Pine Creek from the Hamilton Bottom Access Area.
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