CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Flight training for the Maryland Air National Guard could be coming to our area, and the impacts of it could be felt across our central Pa region on both the wildlife side and through tourism dollars.

Some concerns have been brought forward by Pennsylvania’s 15th district representative, Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson because these training would include low altitude flights, which could be as close as just 100 feet off the ground. These proposed flight training would happen 170 days of the year in the Pennsylvania Wilds region, for four hours per day.

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

“Those are just some of the issues that are out there that need to be studied before a rash decision is made”

Congressman Thompson told me that while he supports the training of the Air National Guard, he hopes that another location can be found for these flight paths, that would have less of an environmental impact.

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

Thompson added that those who may be concerned about the impact of these possible flight trainings should reach out to Governor Tom Wolf’s office to ask him to be an advocate with the Pennsylvania Wilds.