Outdoors Notebook: Pennsylvania Game, Fish & Boat commissions merger opposed

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Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission have a message for the chairmen of state House and Senate Game and Fisheries committees:

Two agencies are better than one.

At a meeting Monday, the board approved a resolution opposing suggestions to merge the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission.

John Arway, executive director of Fish and Boat, has long opposed suggestions of merging. At this point, that's all it is -- a suggestion that one way for the commonwealth to save money would be to combine the Game Commission ($100 million annual budget) and the Fish and Boat Commission ($55 million budget).

The resolution said the Game Commission is an independent agency charged by the state constitution with regulating and protecting the state's wildlife, and the Fish and Boat Commission is an independent agency charged with regulating and protecting the state's fisheries.

"We affirm our commitment to the status of the two independent agencies and that they remain independent with their ability to focus on their primary responsibilities," it said.

A majority of game commissioners also opposed reducing the duration of their terms from eight to four years. Currently, eight commissioners serve a single unpaid eight-year term. Commissioners are reimbursed for travel expenses and sometimes serve longer, pending the approval of replacements.

The resolution notes "... [it] takes a new commissioner several years to understand the broad scope of this complex agency."

River of the Year

Before the last Ice Age, the Monongahela River flowed north across what is now Pennsylvania and emptied into the St. Lawrence River. Today it rolls 130 miles from Fairmont, W.Va, to its confluence with the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River.

At a ceremony Saturday in Brownsville, the Mon will be named Pennsylvania's River of the Year. More than 50 related recreational events are planned in 2013. Get the details at: www.monrivertowns.com.



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