2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 13 May 2003 18:27:07 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Pennsylvania Lands Closed due to UXO
Release #28-03 April 29, 2003


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross
today announced that, beginning at 2 p.m. today, a portion of State Game
Lands 127 will be closed to all motorized and non-motorized vehicular
traffic following a preliminary review conducted by the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers that indicated a number of metallic items buried

The closure will impact Seven Mile Road and the connecting loop that
leads to the top of Brady’s Lake, including the route designated for
disabled hunters to use all-terrain vehicles. However, Ross noted, the
public access road from Route 940 to Brady’s Lake parking lot will
remain open for the time being.  The closure to non-motorized vehicles
includes horses and mountain bikes.

_From 1917 to 1949, this area was part of the impact area of the
Tobyhanna Artillery Range where the U.S. Army and Pennsylvania National
Guard conducted artillery and machine gun training.

“Our safety specialist found several anomalies buried in the areas that
we surveyed throughout State Game Land 127,” said Jack Butler, Tobyhanna
Artillery Range Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“These anomalies, which indicate metallic items, are most likely intact
unexploded ordnance (UXO) or shrapnel since there is no history of
farming activity in the area.  The only way to be certain is to dig up
the items, and to safely destroy and neutralize the UXO items.

“As a precaution, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is recommending that
a portion of the roads on SGL 127 be closed to all vehicular traffic
until the area can be cleared, since pressure from vehicles could
detonate these devices.”

Ross noted that the Game Commission is awaiting the Corps’ final written
review, which is expected within the next two weeks.

“We are taking these actions now to close this portion of SGL 127 to
protect the public,” Ross said.  “We will be making other decisions and
announcements after we receive the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers final
written review.”

Those who continue to hunt or hike on SGL 127 are urged to follow a few
common-sense safety precautions:

Be careful where you are walking so you do not kick or walk on an
unexploded ordnance;

If you locate an unexploded ordnance, do not touch it, kick it or move
it.  Step away, mark the area where you found the device and, if
possible, mark its location on a map, and leave the area.  Report your
finding to the Game Commission’s Northeast Region Office
(1-877-877-9357) so that local officials may handle it.

Butler noted that “frost heave,” the upward movement of buried items
caused by repeated freezing and thawing of the ground, is the most
likely reason why so many anomalies are being found more than 50 years
after the area was last used as an artillery range.  He noted that most
of the ordnance used by the U.S. Army and National Guard at Tobyhanna
were 37 mm anti-aircraft or anti-tank rounds and 75 mm or 155 mm
artillery rounds.

The Game Commission made the first purchases of what is now State Game
Lands 127 in 1936.  The first was 3,871 acres from the Patrick Brady
Estate that included the 230-acre lake. The second was the acquisition
of almost 15,000 acres from the U.S. Government in 1949.  This tract was
a part of the Tobyhanna Army Depot that was started in the early 1900’s
and was used as an impact area for artillery training. In addition to
regulars training there, the West Point Cadets also used this area until
World War II.

The total acreage of SGL 127 presently is nearly 25,100 acres in
Coolbaugh and Tobyhanna townships, Monroe County.

# # #

This press release can be viewed online at:

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