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Tom Marino, major force in the development of Highlands Trail, Volunteer of the Month


Tom Marino has been a major force in the development of the new continuation of the Highlands Trail through Pennsylvania. The Highlands Trail is a long distance trail that follows the highlands of the Mid-Atlantic from the Connecticut line to the Maryland line.

Tom has been involved for a number of years with the steering committee for the trail, chaired by Tricia McCloskey of the AMC Mid Atlantic Conservation Office. This involves attending meetings and dealing with the many political matters involved in developing and building a trail. He has also been very involved with the building of a portion of the trail in Veterans' Park, Richland Township. He is an active trail runner and runs there all the time, so he was an invaluable asset to the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards leader, Greg Bernet in planning and laying out the trail. Tom is also not afraid to get dirty doing trail work either, and he is an ace with a weed whacker!

Our Volunteer of the Month program was initiated to recognize volunteers nominated by their peers. Chapter members can nominate volunteers by e-mail to nomination should contain the nominee’s name, reason for the recognition, and name of the nominator. Each nominee name is entered into a random drawing for the Volunteer of the Month recognition. The monthly winners are entered into an annual drawing at the Annual Dinner for a grand prize of a weekend stay at an AMC facility. Nominees must be an AMC member, not a elected member of the current Executive Committee, and may serve in any volunteer capacity that benefits the Chapter mission in the Delaware Valley area. See the past Volunteers of the Month.

Prescribed Fires Planned Valley Forge National Park

Prescribed fire operations are tentatively scheduled for the first two weeks of April 2019. Operations could take from two days to one week to complete. This page will be updated when the final date is selected, as the dates are dependent on the proper field and weather conditions.

The park plans to burn 135 acres in multiple meadows located along PA Route 23 (Valley Forge Road) and Gulph Road. The area for the burn is within the Grand Parade area, a high priority habitat area with a diverse mixture of native and non-native plant species that will be assessed following the burn. Fire will help control high priority invasive plants including Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana).

See website:

Prescribed Fires Planned at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation is planning a series of prescribed fires in the coming weeks.  The areas to be burned this year include approximately 40 acres of grasses, shrubs, and woodlands on the New Jersey side of the park along Mountain Road near Walpack Center.

Depending on favorable weather and site conditions, the first burns could take place during the second or third week in April. Because certain prescription parameters must be met (including wind speed, relative humidity, fuel moisture, and drought index), it is not possible to precisely schedule prescribed fires in advance. Roads, visitor use facilities, and hiking trails may be temporarily closed while burns are underway.

Prescribed fire is an approved tool for natural resource management throughout the National Park System and is part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area’s fire management program. The primary objectives of the prescribed fire program are: restoration and perpetuation of scenic and cultural landscapes, including native plant species; reduction of wildland fuel loading; and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

Prescribed fire is often more effective than either manual or mechanical removal of fuels. Air quality and smoke impacts will be monitored and relatively small areas will be burned in order to keep smoke to a minimum. A minimum of six firefighters and one fire engine will be on hand throughout the period while the fire burns and will patrol the area until the burn is declared out. Assistance may be provided by firefighters from other National Park Service units, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and The Nature Conservancy.

Copies of the prescribed fire plan are available to the public and may be obtained by contacting the Chief Ranger’s Office at 570-426-2414.

State Game Lands prescribed burn map: Some are along AT and other areas we hike..Click here

We did it!

Congress OKs permanent authorization of Land & Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in support of a package of public lands bills including the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund on Tuesday, February 26.

This vote comes on the heels of the Senate’s passage of the identical package of bills on February 12, now sending S.47, the Natural Resources Management Act, to the president’s desk, where it was signed into law on March 12.

Thousands of AMC supporters helped make this victory a reality through letters and phone calls to their Members of Congress; leading outdoor trips to places protected by LWCF; posting on social media about LWCF; and even traveling to Washington, D.C. to bring your outdoor stories directly to decision makers.

Breakneck Ridge, New Jersey, is one of the thousands of popular hiking areas served by the LWCF.

All our elected officials in the Delaware Valley region voted in support of S.47 except for Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. Please consider calling or e-mailing to thank them for their support. Stay tuned to AMC’s Conservation Action Network for future opportunities to speak up in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other important conservation policy issues.

Sunday hunting once again proposed for Pennsylvania

A familiar issue has once again been moving through the Pennsylvania legislature – lifting the ban on Sunday hunting. PA Senator Dan Laughlin introduced Senate Bill 147 earlier this year. In addition to allowing the Game Commission to remove the ban on Sunday hunting, the bill would also make trespassing by hunters a primary offense and increase penalties. S.B. 147 was approved by the PA Senate Game and Fisheries Committee on February 5th and will next be considered by the entire Senate.

Previous proposals have failed to pass the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, making S.B. 147 seemingly more viable than prior efforts. However, should the bill pass the Senate, it will move to the House; historically, members of the PA House have been less supportive of expanding hunting in the state than the Senate.

S.B. 147, if passed, would allow the Game Commission to remove the ban on Sunday hunting first established in 1873. As many avid hikers, birders, mountain bikers, and other recreational users know, Sunday is currently the only day during hunting season to enjoy the outdoors without the presence of hunters. Re-instituting Sunday hunting could negatively affect the experience of recreationists who currently enjoy state game lands, state parks and forests, and some county and local parks.

Allowing Sunday hunting may also affect important stewardship like maintenance of the Appalachian Trail corridor. In some cases, AT trail crews choose to arrange their work for Sundays precisely to avoid active hunting.

Past proposals to end the ban on Sunday hunting have not been successful, in some part due to a large opposition from groups such as Keystone Trails Association and the PA Farm Bureau. Keystone Trails Association and PA Farm Bureau also oppose Senate Bill 147.

To make your voice heard on this issue, please contact your PA State Senators and Representatives regarding Senate Bill 147.


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