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Q & A
Crossing Railroad Tracks
Question
My buddy got a ticket from the railroad police for crossing tracks north of Harrisburg to get to his favorite fishing spot. What gives? We've been fishing there for years with no problems. We're always very safety conscious around railroad tracks.
Answer
The issue of fishing access across Norfolk Southern property usually becomes a hot issue in summer when bass anglers cross railroad tracks to access their favorite fishing spots. We usually receive a number of calls from anglers complaining about being issued warnings or citations for parking on Norfolk Southern property and/or crossing the railroad tracks.

Anglers in the Commonwealth rely on informal, as well as formal, access points to gain access to substantial stretches of water. We understand and appreciate the concerns that Norfolk Southern and other property owners have about permitting recreational access across their property. The PFBC recommends that anglers do NOT trespass to gain access to any river or other waters. At the same time, the PFBC wants the railroad to adopt a reasonable and tolerant approach that focuses on safety while permitting meaningful access.

The complaints and inquiries we receive are usually related to property by the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers in the Harrisburg area, most often the Perdix area of the Susquehanna River, but we suspect the problem is more widespread. These spots are very popular with bass anglers, and they've been used for years essentially with no problems. Every action sparks a reaction. As anglers have been driven from locations they've used safely and without problems for years, it has caused some reaction from landowners. We've gotten reports of landowners posting properties that have been open in the past.

The Fish and Boat Commission wants to work with all interested parties to fashion an approach that can clarify this situation. When a similar situation arose several years ago in the north-central part of the state, an informal approach was developed that has worked safely and satisfactorily.

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