Gov. Tom Corbett did a two-day kayak tour of the Upper Delaware River last week. Earlier this summer, the governor embarked on a similar journey on the Allegheny River ending in Pittsburgh. Last year, the governor paddled the Susquehanna River.
We hope Ralph Kisberg, chairman of the board of the Responsible Drilling Alliance, and his fellow environmental advocates issue an invitation to the governor to visit Rock Run.
If they have not made such an invitation, we will.
We hope the governor considers himself invited.
Kisberg and others are trying to attract attention to Rock Run, what they see as a secret jewel in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Rock Run, north of Williamsport, has been identified by outdoor enthusiasts as the most beautiful hiking location in a state rich with outdoor vistas and sylvan forests.
Rock Run also happens to be in the middle of the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling region. A gas company has obtained the mineral rights beneath land near Rock Run. The environmentalists say their study of deed restrictions suggests there is an opportunity for the state to steer drillers away from Rock Run and protect an old logging trail used by hikers nearby.
They are pinning their hopes on the fact that the governor could cite that deed restriction while barring drilling near Rock Run. They hope that drilling will be delayed until advances are made in gas extraction that would enable the drilling to take place with fewer potential impacts on the surrounding environment.
The environmentalists are greatly outgunned. They are advocating on behalf of a natural resource that is unfamiliar to most of those who are not from the area immediately around Rock Run. Much of the political muscle in Pennsylvania is concentrated in the southeastern and southwestern corners of the state where there is little broad support or concern about preserving clean rolling streams and mesmerizing tumbling water falls along the sparsely populated ridges of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Corbett and other elected leaders in the state, including Lycoming County's Sen. Gene Yaw, have proven to be mainly pro-energy industry, recognizing drilling as an economic boon in otherwise challenging economic times.
Overcoming that inertia will not be easy. Kisberg and friends will need to build a broad coalition to gain sufficient attention.
If there is a place worth effectively shielding from the demonstrably uncertain impacts of gas drilling, it would be Rock Run. Surely, Pennsylvania's elected leaders, including the governor, would recognize the importance of protecting one of creation's most precious natural jewels. If only they would take a closer look.