Year two of the three-year timbering project at State Game Land 314 in northwestern Erie County is leaving the Pennsylvania Game Commission-owned property unrecognizable in many places.
That was the plan all along.
“SGL 314′s … appearance will probably take some time to get used to, even for folks who understand and support the alternation,” the commission said in a news release announcing the project. “All woody vegetation is being cut, shredded and removed. Thats pretty dramatic. But regeneration typically occurs very rapidly and after one growing season, the picture should be very different. We expect to see the species dependent upon this modified habitat to subsequently respond in a positive manner.”
Some 700 acres of the 3,400-acre property are being worked on with the goal of re-establishing habitat preferred by the American woodcock, blue-winged warbler and other species. The game land we know today was established over time, parcel by parcel, and many of those properties were once farms whose fields have since gone to forest.
They look far more like fields again today. Here are a few photos from a recent driving tour:
Some roadside ripping also has gone on, pushing back vegetation that had encroached on ditches and the few roads running through the property. That had the unfortunate effect of wiping out many of the blackberry bushes whose fruit usually ripens this month.