WEATHERLY — A large parcel of land in the borough will now be officially open to the public for hunting and outdoor enjoyment.
Earlier this month, borough council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to put 520.38 acres near the site of the Weatherly Hillclimb on the northern end of the borough into the commission’s Safety Zone program.
Borough Manager Harold Pudliner said the land has been owned by the borough since the Penrose Dam was used as a water source. The borough owned the land to protect the watershed for the dam, he said. The borough is now served by wells, Pudliner pointed out.
Cory Bentzoni, the Game Commission’s wildlife conservation officer in Carbon County, said it does not cost the borough anything to be part of the program. It opens that land up for public hunting and public use, like mountain biking and hiking, and the commission regulates the land.
“One of the things that is nice about it is that once it is signed up into the program, it is treated just like state game lands, so all the rules and regulations that are on state game lands apply to that property — no motorized vehicles, no alcohol, no drugs, no stealing of timber,” Bentzoni said.
“It also presents a law enforcement presence, because I will be patrolling that land, checking hunters and checking on the property.”
In fact, across the street from the large parcel, the so-called Penrose property is already in the program, Bentzoni said.
“I’ve written in the vicinity of 25 citations on that land for riding ATVs, alcohol and camping, things they are not supposed to do on that property,” Bentzoni told council.
Councilman Joseph Cyburt saw an immediate benefit to the program during the recent Hillclimb event.
“The Hillclimb (event organizers) had a problem with people riding all-terrain vehicles drunk,” Cyburt said. “Maybe if we do…