Leaf watchers and outdoor enthusiasts alike can experience the Pennsylvania Game Commission's local conservation efforts without stepping foot from their car.
The Game Commission is hosting a series of self-guided, drivable game lands tours in the region, spokesman Jerry Feaser said.
Residents are invited to tour State Game Land 108 in Cambria County between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, Southwestern Region spokesman Tom Fazi said.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting a number of self-guided, drivable game lands tours in the region, including one at Prince Gallitzin State Park.
"We picked this time of year because people love to be out there with the changing colors," Fazi said.
Everyone from sportsmen eager to tour prospective hunting areas to individuals more interested in fall foliage are invited to attend.
Admission to the 7.5-mile trail is free - the only requirement is a vehicle capable of navigating the unpaved trails, Fazi said.
The Game Commission maintains 1.4 million acres of land spread out across 65 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, Fazi said.
Located near Prince Gallitzin State Park, State Game Land 108 encompass es 23,086 acres. Those game lands are separate from state parks and forests, Fazi said.
"Game lands are bought and paid for by hunters and trappers [through license fees]," he said. "They represent a tangible asset for the hunter license dollars."
While game lands are maintained through the sale of hunting licenses, the general public is always welcome to utilize game lands for recreation, he said. Tours of various game lands are held every year and are always open to the public.
Access to the State Game Land 108 tour begins just north of the village of Frugality off Route 53.
In Blair and Bedford counties, residents can tour State Game Land 26 in a similar fashion Oct. 14.
Land Management Supervisor Bert Einodshofer said the tours allow people of all ages to experience the outdoors, but he noted that the State Game Land 26 trail can be challenging on foot.
"You're going from a very high elevation to a very low elevation," Einodshofer said
Those who may not be able to physically climb the steep switchbacks can still experience the trail via the tour on Oct. 14, he said.
Cars aren't the only method of transportation allowed on the trails - some residents routinely ride mountain bikes or tackle the trails on horseback, Wildlife Conservation Officer John Zook said.
The Game Commission welcomes everyone to enjoy the 7.5-mile trail, which can take from 45 minutes to an hour to complete, Zook said.
"Fifty percent are folks that have been there before. There's repeat customers that wouldn't miss it," he said. "The other 50 percent, they've never been on it."
Along the way, sightseers can pull over to take pictures or explore their surroundings, Zook said.
Wildlife conservation officers will be on hand to answer questions and point out the Game Commission's wildlife and wildlife habitat management efforts on the 12,062 acres of State Game Land 26, he said.
The State Game Land 26 tour will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 14.
A full list of tour locations is available at pgc.state.pa