In his essential guide to hikes in central Pennsylvania, Tom Thwaites calls The Old Loggers Path a "gem of a hiking trail" and describes it as a wilderness footpath of "thick woods, wild streams and sweeping vistas". Those of us who have hiked or backpacked the loop, slipping into one of Rock Run's pools during the heat of a shimmering afternoon or cross-country skied the Cherry Ridge, Hawkeye or Sand Spring Trails through fresh snow crossed by the stealth of a bobcat know, as well, why this area has, as Thwaites notes, a national reputation as one of Pennsylvania's choice outdoor recreation destinations.
Now, as seismic testing takes the first step down the road to its degradation and destruction, this public land is at risk of becoming a maze of bulldozed roads, a grid of pipelines, an eviscerated industrial landscape of clear-cut well pads, massive holding "ponds" and inevitably accidental chemical spills. This state forest land, managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, belongs to all of us who live in the Commonwealth not just the gas developers who have the ear of Gov. Corbett, or the corporate insiders who routinely bring their message to the table of his political appointee, DCNR Secretary Richard Allan.
I encourage everyone who is concerned with the long term protection of the Devils Elbow Natural Area, the McIntyre Wild Area, the Rock Run watershed and the ghosts of Masten to contact Gov. Corbett and Secretary Allan and tell them to stop the natural gas development in the Old Loggers Path area.
Also, support the efforts of the local citizens group, the Responsible Drilling Alliance, to have DCNR hold public comment meetings as part of a transparent decision making process on this issue. .