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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Franklin County
Re: Carl Shaffer Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Pres On SH
One really needs to wonder, beyond the SH discussion, is trespassing the bigger issue?
Trespass laws are scattered over five or six sections of law. There is no coherent scheme to the fines and penalties as some are high verse similar low fines in other sections.
It is also well known that the rules and methods regarding posting and enforcement are all over the map. The urban legend of what is lawful posting or allowed for access is all over the place.
It amazes me, that as one of the organizations representing landowners in Pennsylvania, with all the charges of trespass and quality of life issues surrounding it, that the PFB has not made revision and codifying the trespass laws priority one. Not just now in the midst of the SH issue, but years ago.
I have stated before, and will renew the suggestion again, the time is now for a full rework of the trespass laws found anywhere in the PA Code. More important, to combine and simplify all aspects of trespass into one statute. Then simplify the fines and penalties into a coherent format.
Right now, we have trespass, ag trespass, ATV trespass, bio area trespass, and one or two others that address specific interests. One has to seriously wonder if this isn't a reason for lack of coherent serious enforcement. Or at least one aspect of it.
Leaving the emotion, hype, support / non-support for SH, it would be wise to address the state statutes concerning trespass before taking on SH.
No one wins, no one loses by taking on trespass first. The status quot remains as it has been ... forever. But, addressing a large sub-issue of the SH debate has the effect of resolving a thorn of an issue that affects landowners of every stripe and also figures prominently in the SH debate.
Resolving the trespass issue will also most likely serve hunters and sportsmen in a positive manner. A clear set of laws that are consistent, clear, and easily enforced remove the wiggle room and excuse riddled defense often used.
It is my opinion, and it appears to be the opinion of the PFB and others, that until the trespass issue is resolved SH will not happen. It is time to be plain in language and action and make trespass reform a priority by the PFB and others.
It is time for PFB and others to make trespass a legislative issue of top priority. They need to be clear, and direct in their desire as they have not been so far.
For those that want SH and see this as a retreat; hardly. It is a building block.
For the PFB and other landowners, it is a long overdue latent desire floundering in the stew of other issues.
It seems disingenuous to complain of trespass and not use the in house apparatus and clout of the PFB to get the process started.
With due respect to all, get up out of the chair and lets get the process going. SH aside, trespass has been an issue far longer than SH or even deer management. But don't place it as a block to SH or any other issue without taking it on.
Actions speak louder than words.
We are watching.
Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.