Pennsylvania State Park War Games

For about 170 days a year (1 to 2 hours a day, 2 to 3 days per week) the Maryland Air National Guard is seeking permission to expand low level flights, with A-10 Warthogs on combat training missions over pristine Pennsylvania state parks like Elk State Park and the Hammersly Wild Area. Pretty crazy, eh?

‘PENNSYLVANIA WILDS’
The current charted Duke MOA is located in north central Pennsylvania with a small portion extending past the southern boundary of New York (Cattaraugus County). Rough calculations indicate their area for war games would cover roughly 800 square miles, and some flights would be as low as 100-feet above the ground.

The counties affected are Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter and Tioga— the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds region.

For those who have never seen or heard an A-10 Warthog, it’s a fighter jet known as a tankbuster, with huge, whistling and roaring, twin jet engines on both sides of the rear fuselage, with each one capable of producing over 9,000 foot pounds of thrust: General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofans, 9,065 lbf (40.32 kN) each

Loud? You betcha!
Two? Twice as loud!!

Imagine how all this activity would freak-out wildlife like Elk, not to mention hikers and campers seeking some solitude in a quiet wilderness adventure.

Some of the comments made by the PA DCNR in October 2019:
“Twelve state parks would be impacted by this proposed activities, including Bucktail, Cherry Springs, Denton Hill, Elk, Kettle Creek, Lyman Run, Ole Bull, Patterson, Prouty Place, Sinnemahoning and Sizerville. [The proposed Low MOA training area] … is the Commonwealth’s greatest concentration of public lands, the state’s largest acreage of wilderness and is home to two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, the largest elk herd in the northeast, and Cherry Springs State Park, a Gold Level Dark Sky Park designated by the International Dark Sky Association. If the proposed Low MOA is approved there will be an impact on outdoor recreation, especially for those that are seeking a wilderness experience.  This impact may constitute a conversion [of use for properties conserved in the area under the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund] which will require the acquisition of replacement land.”

More like a war zone than Pennsylvania Wilds! (More)

Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau:
“The Allegheny National Forest is not being given any consideration as to what the low MOA flights will do to the abundant wildlife, or to the human recreational activities occurring in our region. Visitors come to our region to experience nature’s beauty, the sound of birds chirping, the flight of an eagle overhead, and the crunch of leaves underfoot as they hike along a trail. They come here to escape from the noise of civilization. If this was a high income residential area, this flight schedule would never be proposed. It is being proposed with no input or outreach to the people who reside here or to the over 3 million visitors per year who come here to recreate.”

Meantime, in a 16 February 2017 Department of the Air Force Memorandum from Randolph J. Staudenraus, Brig Gen, MDANG, Commander to base personnel of Headquarters 175th Wing (ANG) at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Baltimore, Maryland we find these excerpts:

“Here at Warfield Air National Guard Base, protecting the environment is a top priority and will be a major consideration in decision-making. In all of our activities we will seek to: Build environmental concerns into all policies, programs, and missions; Integrate environmental information awareness into all levels of management; Achieve continuous improvements in environmental performance over and above regulatory and legislative requirements. The MDANG endorses the continual improvement and execution of an installationwide Environmental Management System in accordance with Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 90-8, Environment, Safety & Occupational Health and Risk Management. All questions can be directed to Capt DeJaun M. Saunders at 243-6486 or Abel Folarin at 243-6062”

The Maryland ANG impact study even charted out potential oil and gas rigs over 100 feet tall.
In an earlier case of low level flying by an A-10 a Pennsylvania writer shares details of a report by the DCNR regarding a NY Air National Guard incident:
“Where a power line crosses the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the vicinity of the village of Keating in western Clinton County, an A-10 was flying low above the river and the tail section of the aircraft severed a power line which crossed the river.  The high voltage power line whipped across Pa Route 120.  The pilot was able to fly the damaged aircraft to base.”
Email your comments until December 15, 2021 to:
ngb.a4.a4a.nepa.comments.org@us.af.mil
Write or phone:

Governor Larry Hogan, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925
Phone: 410-974-3901

General Charles Q. Brown Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff, 1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1670
Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force, 1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1670
Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000
Switchboard: (703) 571-3343

Brigadier General Paul Johnson, Warfield Air National Guard Base, 2701 Eastern Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21220
Phone: 410-918-6230

Bob

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