DCNR's predecessor, the Bureau of Forests and Waters, purchased 18,870 acres in eastern Lycoming County in 1933.
The owner of the land retained the mineral rights and put a clause in the deed that granted him access to the land for 50 years. That right of access expired in 1983.
Usually mineral rights supercede surface rights, but the wording of the deed (confirmed by Commonwealth Court), determined that any subsequent owners of the mineral rights, now Anadarko and IDC, inherited that restriction.
That land includes the headwater wetlands that drain into the Exceptional Value stream, Rock Run. It also includes the Old Loggers Path, a remote and beautiful 27-mile loop that wanders through the cool hemlocks of Loyal-sock State Forest stretching eastward past the old ghost town of Masten.
DCNR should be transparent about this and schedule public meetings and solicit public input before decisions are made regarding any possible development of the area. Field staff should submit full environmental-impact studies so the public can determine what is at risk.
If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
Richard A. Martin Boiling Spring
The writer is coordinator of the Pennsylvania Forest Coalition.