While Marcellus Shale Coalition’s “Pennsylvania Jobs Pennsylvania Energy” takes place at the state Capitol, the Keystone Trails Association will hold its own counter-rally nearby.
“We need to preserve our state parks and our state forests,” said Ernie Werstler, a Reamstown resident and the organization’s treasurer.
Conflicts between hikers and drillers are frequent and significant, KTA executive director Curt Ashenfelter said.
Well pads and compressor stations disturb natural areas, stream pollution harms hikers’ water sources and security guards have been known to chase hikers off trails, he said.
KTA plans to rally at outside its offices at North Front and Walnut streets around noon, with Ashenfelter as the main speaker.
The association isn't against gas drilling as such, Werstler said, but it is concerned about its effect on the land. KTA opposes lifting the existing moratorium on new gas leases in state parks and forests, he said.
While shale drilling’s impact is most visible in northern and southwest Pennsylvania, Ashenfelter said he’s concerned about Williams Partners proposal to build a pipeline through western Lancaster County.
Plans show the pipeline going through the “River Hills” area, home to several popular trails.
“That’s a beautiful part of the world, and it’s going to be dramatically different if a pipeline goes through it,” Ashenfelter said.