|Pennsylvania's Fishing and Boating Access Strategy (Strategy) provides the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), and many important partners, such as local governments and conservation organizations with the necessary tools to make sound decisions on the discovery and selection of priority access points, acquisitions of key properties, and the design and development of new or improvements to existing facilities, and on the identification and allocation of financial resources for fishing and boating access.
For this Strategy, public fishing and boating access is defined as follows:
- Boating access provides access to waterways for powered and/or unpowered boats with some level of facilities including parking. Boating access is typically at a designated point of entry along a waterway. Fishing can also occur at these sites; however, the primary purpose is boating.
- Walk-in fishing access provides a way for anglers to reach the waterway and walk for some distance along the stream bank or in the stream bed. These types of access areas are typically linear with few amenities and do not have boat launch ramps.
A partnership between PFBC and DCNR was formed to provide a strategy to increase public fishing and boating access opportunities to Pennsylvania's 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, 3,956 lakes, reservoirs and ponds, and 470,400 acres of Lake Erie. The PFBC and DCNR, with support from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), undertook a one year planning process in preparing a state-wide public access strategy to enhance fishing, boating and other water-oriented recreational opportunities in Pennsylvania.
Some examples of key questions that were asked to identify major components of this Strategy:
- Are current fishing and boating access points adequate to meet public demand?
- What funding sources are available for acquisition, development and maintenance ofaccess?
- Where are current fishing and boating access points in relationship to population centers, fishing license purchasers, and boat registrants?
- What are the criteria for identifying good walk-in fishing and boating access sites?
- Why are private landowners increasingly "posting" their property and eliminating access for the public?
- Where do people live and where do they want access?