Possible flight formations in central Pa could impact wildlife

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Flight training for the Maryland Air National Guard could come to our area, and the impacts could be felt in our central Pa region from both the wildlife and tourism side.

Some concerns have been raised by Pennsylvania’s 15th District Representative, Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, that these formations would include low-level flight, which could be as close as 100 feet from the ground. These proposed flight trainings would take place 170 days a year in the Pennsylvania Wilds area, for four hours a day.

The impact of these low level flights would be felt on the large population of elk herds in our area, as well as the population of migratory birds and bald eagles. And Thompson said it could also cause disruption that would affect tourism in the area. Tourism in the central Pa region is heavily influenced by the elk population, with many coming to the area during the rutting season.

“These are just some of the issues that need to be considered before a rash decision is made”

Congressman Thompson told me that if he supports Air National Guard training, he hopes an alternate location can be found for these flight paths that will have less impact on the environment.

“The cumulative impact, the potential disruption of this low MOA would be extremely detrimental to our region,” Congressman Thompson said.

Thompson added that those who might be concerned about the impact of these possible in-flight formations should contact Gov. Tom Wolf’s office to ask him to be a defender for the Pennsylvania Wilds.