Harrisburg, Pa. – Acting in concert with the Pennsylvania State Police and in the wake of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s temporary suspension of hunting and closure of its game lands within seven townships in northeastern Pennsylvania during an ongoing manhunt, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is closing sections of Delaware State Forest to hunters and others traveling on foot in the woodlands.
Earlier today Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough issued an executive order to temporarily close game lands and suspend hunting and trapping seasons within Price, Barrett and Paradise townships in Monroe County; and Blooming Grove, Porter, Lehman and Greene townships in Pike County. The townships all are within Wildlife Management Unit 3D.
“Safety of state forestland visitors is paramount as the search continues for the fugitive wanted in the shooting death of a state police trooper,” said DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “This is a necessary inconvenience to many but it is designed to aid investigators and protect all forest visitors, not just hunters.”
The secretary stressed all public-use roads will remain open to transit. Walking within state forestlands in the designated townships is strongly discouraged, she said.
“As the largest land owner in that area, it is a sound decision to follow recommendations of Pa. State Police and temporally close all forestland in an area designated by state police,” Ferretti said.
The closures were initiated after state police advised Tuesday that troopers searching for fugitive Eric Frein had uncovered explosive devices apparently left behind in wooded areas by the fugitive, and would pose an obvious danger to anyone who would encounter them.
“These findings posed new justification for this serious and wide-sweeping decision,” said Ferretti. “With archery season rapidly approaching this Saturday, and fall foliage viewing in that area moving into high gear, we ask the patience and understanding of all who enjoy the Delaware Forest.”
Frein is wanted in the Sept. 12 ambush-shooting death of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson II outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pike County. Trooper Alex Douglass was wounded in the attack.
Delaware State Forest totals 83,519 acres in Pike, Monroe, Northampton, and Carbon counties. DCNR earlier this week issued an advisory to those frequenting the search area, or planning to visit, to do so with caution.