In one sense, there were no surprises.
Pennsylvania Game Commission officers did a special law enforcement detail across parts of the state on July 11 and 12. The idea was to find out who it was illegally riding on game lands trails, and how extensive the problem was, and where.
As it turns out, about one third of the violations encountered involved people riding all-terrain vehicles. That’s been a long-standing problem, said Tom Grohol, director of the agency’s bureau of wildlife protection.
But the concentrated effort – the first of its kind – paid dividends, he said.
“I think for the most part it was a learning experience for our guys,” Grohol said.
Officers identified some problem areas and got a feel for the kinds of violations taking place, information that will help with enforcement moving forward, Grohol said.
In the meantime, efforts to educate the public about what is and isn’t legal on state game lands are ongoing.
Pete Sussenbach, chief of the bureau of wildlife habitat management, said commission staff met with representatives of various outdoor recreation groups on Thursday to discuss alternative uses of game lands.
One thing likely to result is improvements to identifying exactly where people can and can’t access the properties, he said.
Right now, Sussenbach said, the commission might identify a bike trail access point as generically as saying it’s the brown gate three miles from the nearest town. Moving forward, it wants to more specifically mark those points, with better directions and better signs, so people on the ground can know where they’re supposed to be, he added.