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Other Wildlife Management

DCNR lands host many different wildlife species, some are common, others are rare, still others are important game species.

DCNR manages these wildlife resources through planning, inventory, and review, and close coordination with partner agencies:

  • Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wildlife Species on DCNR Lands

Wildlife species have special management needs based on their habitat and food requirements.

Whether wildlife is rare or is a popular game species, species have specific management and conservation needs developed to enhance or maintain their habitat and food on DCNR lands.

Below are some of the activities DCNR is doing to benefit these species or their habitat on state forest or park lands.

Brook Trout

Pennsylvania native brook trout is the state’s official fish, and they:

  • Are indicators of superior water quality
  • Provide recreational angling opportunities
  • Are a symbol of our state’s outdoor traditions

Trout fishing at DCNR state park and forests is a popular pastime.

Activities that benefit brook trout also improve habitat for other cold water stream fish. DCNR and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission work to benefit trout on DCNR lands:

  • DCNR implements stream habitat improvement projects, such as placement of large woody debris and riparian plantings, to benefit trout and other fish.

  • DCNR’s Brook Trout Conservation Plan (PDF) details the conservation measures the Bureau of Forestry will take to benefit the habitat of this species on state forest land.

Game Birds

DCNR benefits these popular game birds through forest management and specific habitat improvement projects.

DCNR works with the Pa. Game Commission and non-profits such as National Wild Turkey Federation. Some of the projects include:

  • Grouse habitat improvement by promoting shrubby young forests
  • Turkey habitat improvement by using native seed mixes with preferred food sources
  • Woodcock habitat improvement by improving young forests and removing invasive species


Elk are important large mammals on the landscape. They were almost extinct from Pennsylvania in the past, but have been re-introduced by the Pa. Game Commission in the elk management area in northeast Pennsylvania.

Elk viewing areas are available at the Elk Country Visitor Center, the Quehanna Wild Area, and the Elk Scenic Drive, part of the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Elk hunting is permitted on state forest and park lands in designated elk hunt zones and with an elk hunting license.

Special seed mixes are used in some infrastructure revegetation to benefit elk in the elk management area.


There are many species of turtles found on state forest or park lands.

DCNR has been working with the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission to benefit these reptiles. Work includes:

  • DCNR biologists are tracking bog turtles in several wetlands on state forest and parklands to learn more about this federally-threatened species’ population.

  • Spotted turtle habitat improvement projects are creating basking habitats by down woody debris in forests and wetlands.

  • Box turtle sightings are being recorded by biologists coordinating with the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission to track their populations.

  • Special management requirements around vernal pools protect these unique animal and plant communities.