Forest Proposes to Temporarily Prohibit Feeding Wildlife

Photo courtesy PGC

WARREN, Pa. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service is accepting public comments on a proposal to temporarily restrict wildlife feeding on the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. If approved, the restriction would be in place for one year and only apply to activities on National Forest System lands.

The order would prohibit feeding wildlife or laying or placing any food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt, or other minerals. Exceptions would be made for:

Persons placing a bird feeder in a developed campground unless such bird feeder has been identified as being visited by other wildlife species.

Persons or groups with a permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.

Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

On May 26, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed that a captive white-tailed deer on a Warren County hunting preserve tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

CWD is a highly contagious neurological disease that affects members of the deer, or cervid, family and is always fatal to the animals it infects. It develops very slowly in the lymph nodes, spinal tissue, and brains of deer and elk. To date, there is no evidence that it can be spread to humans.

The feeding of deer can amplify the transmission of diseases like CWD and result in long-term habitat destruction, increased vehicle collisions, habituation to humans, alteration of normal behavioral patterns, and pose risks to other wildlife.

To help slow or stop the spread of CWD, the Forest Service is proposing a one-year restriction on wildlife feeding activities on National Forest System land. If needed, similar short or long-term restrictions may be considered in the future.

To view supporting documents, please visit the project website. Comments regarding this proposal are requested by Aug. 13, and may be submitted to [email protected].