KTA opposes shale gas drilling trails

HARRISBURG – Hikers gathered in May in Harrisburg to voice their opposition to gas drilling on hiking trails. Not all Pennsylvanians support unrestricted drilling, and safer more responsible practices are necessary to protect Pennsylvania’s fragile forests and trails.

“Hiking trails and hikers have been significantly impacted by gas drilling in Pennsylvania,” said KTA Executive Director Curt Ashenfelter. “We support the moratorium on gas leasing of state forests and state parks.”

“Hiker/gas driller conflicts are many and they are significant,” Ashenfelter said. “Keystone Trails Association is concerned that with more than 500 wells drilled and 5,000 more on the way, conflicts will significantly increase and hikers will no longer be able to hike the more than 2,000 miles of long distance hiking trails in the shale gas region of Pennsylvania.”

Hiker/gas driller conflicts include:

1. Stream pollution on the Quehanna and Mid State Trails which prevents hikers from purifying stream water for drinking and cooking. This is a life-threatening emergency for backpackers who depend on restocking water supplies on the trail during multi-day hikes and may arrive at a water source with their water bottles empty.

2. Seismic (dynamite) charges placed directly on the Donut Hole Trail.

3. Loud sounds of compressor stations, that has introduced industrial-level noise pollution to wilderness settings thereby ruining the quality of the hiking experience for day hikers and overnight backpackers alike.

4. Overzealous security guards who chase hikers off trails, and prevent hikers from travelling on forest roads near well pads, compressor stations and pipelines.