Boat owners may be pleased to know that the state legislature has simplified and standardized the registration timeline.

Senate Bill 403, sponsored by Senator Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny), was passed into law this week, aligning the boat registration period with the calendar year.

“Due to an antiquated provision in Title 30, the period of registration spans two years, from April 1 until March 31 of the second year. This creates considerable confusion, especially among inexperienced boaters who mistakenly believe their registration is valid through the end of the calendar year listed on their registration decal,” Senator Robinson said in introducing the measure. “Expired boat registrations are one of the most common violations that the Commission’s Waterways Conservation Officers encounter in the field.”

The bill included a provision that will allow up to an additional 18 months of time for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission to update the related regulation.

PGC HISTORY

ON DISPLAY

The story of wildlife conservation and management and the role of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) plays in it, will be told at the new Conservation Heritage Museum to open to the public tomorrow at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Visitor Center in Stevens.

Visitors will be able to compare the equipment used by Game Wardens in the early 1900s with what officers use today. There will also be historic hunting and trapping tools, hunter education and wildlife management materials, photographs, wildlife art and publications like Pennsylvania Game News magazine, and more memorabilia to see.

Retired Game Warden Bill Bower had a huge collection of memorabilia related to conservation and the Game Commission and was looking for a way to permanently share these pieces of history.

A lot of that collection is in the new wing at Middle Creek.

“The opening of the museum is something that’s been long anticipated,” said Lauren Ferreri, the Game Commission’s Biological & Visitor Manager at Middle Creek. “It features a chronological walk-through explaining how the Game Commission came to be and why it was so needed to protect wildlife.”

According to the PGC, “Conservation involves a constantly-changing learning curve,” Ferreri said. “New research, new technologies, new understanding, they all drive the protection of wildlife. The Conservation Heritage Museum aims to show how far we’ve come and offer some insight on where we’re headed.”

Middle Creek visitors also walk trails, take part in controlled hunts and view wildlife, like the migrating snow geese that arrive by the hundreds of thousands each spring.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area’s Visitor Center is located at 100 Museum Road, Stevens. Admission to it and the Conservation Heritage Museum is free during regular center hours, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

BULLET POINTS

• Twenty-four new Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officers will graduate this morning in ceremonies in the Capitol Rotunda.

• To avoid human-black bear conflicts, regularly clean and remove grease, fat, and food particles from outside grills. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out.

• Biologists recently hauled in the heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida. The female python weighed in at 215 pounds, was nearly 18 feet long and had 122 developing eggs.

Send your wild thoughts and photos to bjsmall@comcast.net.

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