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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 16:13 EDT

Board Approves Proposals To Grow State Game Lands; Board Approves Land Exchange In Elk County; Board Approves Legal Settlement Agreement; Board Approves Non-Surface Use Agreement In Bradford County; Board Approves Surface Coal Mining Lease In Indiana County; Board Approves Surface Coal Mining Lease

September 25, 2012

FRANKLIN, Pa., Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved three land proposals that will increase the State Game Lands system by 726 acres.

The first proposal approved by the Board involves a donation of 183 acres in Lafayette Township, McKean County, from Seneca Resources Corporation that adjoins State Game Land 62, McKean County. The property is mostly forested with mixed hardwoods and is interspersed with natural wetland openings covering about 40 acres throughout the tract. The headwaters of Fuller Brook flow through the tract. Township Road 572 (Riterville Road) bisects the northern portion of the property and will provide access for hunters and trappers.

The second proposal approved by the Board is the purchase of 333 acres of land in Shade Township, Somerset County, from Curtis and Lucille Swallow, for $336,300, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on State Game Lands from previously approved projects. The land is adjacent to State Game Land 228 in Somerset County, and is forested with oak, maple and cherry and – where present – has an understory of mountain laurel, blackberry and dogwood. The headwaters of Coal Run originate on the property. Access into the property is from Township Road 794 (Swallow Road).

The third proposal approved by the Board is the purchase of 110 acres of land in Lafayette Township, McKean County, and 100 acres of land in Keating Township, McKean County, from Natural Resources Management Corporation and David J. Reed. Both tracts adjoin State Game Land 62, and will be purchased for $200,000, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on State Game Lands from previously approved projects. Both tracts are forested with mixed northern hardwoods and witch hazel, low-bush blueberry and raspberries in the understory. There are about 20 acres of old beaver dam meadows and wetlands associated with spring seeps and Three Mile Run, which flows through the property. There is good access to these tracts from the existing parts of State Game Land 62.

BOARD APPROVES LAND EXCHANGE IN ELK COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved a land exchange with Wayne and Jane Bryndel that will impact State Game Lands 28 and 293, in Elk County.

Under the exchange, the Bryndels will receive a 250-foot long by 20-foot wide right-of-way to place underground utility lines across SGL 28 in Spring Creek Township, Elk County. In exchange for granting the right-of-way, the Bryndels have offered to pay for a seven-acre property in the City of St. Marys, Elk County, owned by Aaron and Tristen Bleggi that is adjacent to SGL 293.

The Game Commission staff has determined the value of the land being offered is equal to the value of the right-of-way. The conveyance to the Game Commission contains mature northern hardwoods, predominately maple and cherry with some hemlocks. The common boundary line between the agency and the Bleggis is the centerline of an old railroad grade.

Acquiring this property removes potential safety zone issues from dwellings and will give the Game Commission ownership of both sides of the old railroad grade for about 2,000 feet. The Bleggis will be reserving the deep gas rights.

BOARD APPROVES LEGAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved the terms of a legal settlement regarding ownership of oil and gas rights between the agency and Keith and Elaine Klingler involving State Game Land 39 in Venango County, State Game Land 45 in Clarion County and State Game Land 78 in Clearfield County.

As the result of a legal settlement, the Klinglers agreed to transfer ownership of 54 acres of land in Ashland Township, Clarion County, adjoining State Game Land 45. The property is forested with mixed northern hardwoods with some mature timber. The understory is comprised of witch hazel, ironwood, serviceberry and nannyberry. Numerous spring seeps are located on the tract and flow into East Sandy Creek located south of the property on existing State Game Land 45.

The Klinglers also will convey coal/mineral interests underlying 720 acres of land in Graham Township, Clearfield County, which underlies State Game Land 78, and shall release, waive, and quitclaim to the agency, any and all ownership rights in 100 acres of oil, gas and minerals located in Mineral Township, Venango County underlying State Game Land 39.

BOARD APPROVES NON-SURFACE USE AGREEMENT IN BRADFORD COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved a restricted-use surface oil and gas agreement with Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, involving the agency’s oil and gas ownership under a 77-acre portion of State Game Land 36 in Overton Township, Bradford County.

The terms of the agreement are a pre-paid, five-year, non-surface use oil and gas agreement, a $2,000 per acre bonus payment and a 20 percent royalty payment. Chesapeake has a strong lease position surrounding this isolated portion of State Game Land 36, and has initiated well drilling and development programs on adjacent private lands. Chesapeake has the ability to unitize the Game Commission’s oil and gas reserve by horizontal drilling with no disturbance to the State Game Land surface. Staff has negotiated with Chesapeake in an effort to safeguard the prudent development of the Game Commission’s oil/gas reserve and simultaneously protect the wildlife resources and recreational use of State Game Land 36.

The bonus payment of $154,000 will be deposited into the Game Fund or an interest-bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management. Future rentals and royalties will be deposited into the Game Fund.

Oil and gas development will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s oil and gas regulations and the Game Commission’s standard Restricted Surface Use Oil and Gas Production Agreement.

BOARD APPROVES SURFACING MINING LEASE IN INDIANA COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved a surface mining and reclamation lease with P&N Coal Co., Inc., of Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, involving a 120-acre portion of State Game Land 174 in Indiana County.

P&N Coal currently is surface mining on private lands adjacent to State Game Land 174, and desires to extend its mining operations onto the State Game Land. The Game Commission does not own the coal, but is the owner of the surface support rights on this tract of land.

Under the lease, P&N Coal will surface mine and remove about 221,000 tons of coal from a portion of State Game Land 174. The proposed re-mining and reclamation operation will have a total surface impact of 120 acres for the actual coal removal, erosion and sedimentation controls and operational support. The proposed surface mine area has been previously deep and surface mined resulting in a scarred landscape containing many dangerous subsidence holes, abandoned mine spoil piles and highwalls which will be removed and reclaimed.

All timber to be impacted as a result of the proposed project will be assessed by the Game Commission forestry staff and assessed at double stumpage rate.

In exchange for the lease, P&N Coal will make an initial advanced surface support payment totaling $250,000 to be deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management.

Once P&N Coal recoups its advance royalty payments, the company will pay the Game Commission on a monthly basis at a royalty rate of $2.50 per ton or six percent of the then current F.O.B. pit price, whichever is greater, for each marketable ton of coal mined and removed from the lease area. All of these subsequent royalty payments will be deposited into the Game Fund.

Mining will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s surface mining regulations and the Game Commission’s standard surface mine lease agreement. The five-year surface mining lease will include the standard performance bond and environmental protection measures.

In addition, the lease will include a wildlife habitat reclamation and revegetation plan developed by the local Land Management Group Supervisor.

BOARD APPROVES SURFACE COAL MINING LEASE IN JEFFERSON COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved a surface coal mining lease with Targe Coal Energy, L.L.C., also known as Bedrock Mines L.P. (Bedrock), of Pittsburgh, involving State Game Land 320 in Jefferson County.

Bedrock currently is surface-mining a 95-acre site on private lands adjacent to State Game Land 320, and desires to extend its mining operations onto the State Game Land.

Under the lease, Bedrock will surface mine and remove about 14,000 tons of coal from a 4.8-acre portion of State Game Land 320. The proposed mining operation will have a surface impact of about four acres for the coal removal and operational support on the State Game Land. The proposed site has undergone previous surface mining. All timber to be impacted as a result of the proposed project will be assessed by the Game Commission forestry staff and assessed at double stumpage rate.

In exchange for the lease, Targe Energy will make an initial advanced surface support payment of $25,000 to be deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management. Once Bedrock recoups its initial advance royalty payment, it will pay the Game Commission on a monthly basis at a royalty rate of $2.50 per ton or 12 percent of the then current F.O.B. pit price, whichever is greater, for each marketable ton of coal mined and removed from the lease area. All of these subsequent royalty payments will be deposited into the Game Fund.

Mining will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s surface mining regulations and the Game Commission’s standard surface mine lease agreement. The five-year surface mining lease will include the standard performance bond and environmental protection measures.

In addition, the lease will include a wildlife habitat reclamation and revegetation plan developed by the local Land Management Group Supervisor.

AGENCY ANNOUNCES PURCHASE OF LANDS AT AUCTION IN LEHIGH COUNTY
Utilizing authority given to it by the Board of Game Commissioners to protect the integrity of State Game Lands, the Pennsylvania Game Commission staff recently acquired 12 acres of land in Lynn Township, Lehigh County, that is an interior holding to State Game Land 217.

On Sept. 7, the Game Commission was the successful bidder on property owned by Lois E. Majerich, who was offering the property for sale at a public auction. The agency’s winning bid of $40,000 will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on State Game Lands from previously approved projects.

Under Game Commission regulations, the staff is required to announce the results of any winning bids at a meeting of the Board of Game Commissioners.

Also, under state law, the agency can exceed the statutory limit of $400 per acre limit to purchase land that is either an indenture or interior holding of an existing State Game Land. In those cases, the Game Commission can pay what it considers a fair and reasonable price.

Note to Editors: If you would like to receive Game Commission news releases via e-mail, please send a note with your name, address, telephone number and the name of the organization you represent to: PGCNews@pa.gov

SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission


Source: PR Newswire