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Moshannon State Forest



Black Moshannon State Park- Perched on the top of the Allegheny Plateau, Black Moshannon State Park features the Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area. Trails and a boardwalk help people explore the birds and plants of the bog and surrounding forests. Stay overnight to extend your stay so you can explore the beautiful forests on the hiking trails
Elk State Forest- Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing and general recreational activities. The state forest land is delineated by metal tags and white paint marks on trees. Along major roads, the boundary markers are supplemented with wooden signs.
S.B. Elliott State Park- S.B. Elliott is a quiet, rustic, mountaintop recreational area just off of I-80 near the midpoint of the state. Once ravaged by the logging industry, the park now contains magnificent stands of maturing oak and maple that dominate the mountaintop. The park's rustic log cabins are perfect for a quiet getaway.

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General Information

Description - Large lumber companies, land holding companies and private individuals once held the major tracts that now comprise the Moshannon State Forest. White pine and hemlock stands occupied the shady slopes and moist plateaus in the earliest recorded forests of the area. Many areas were covered with a mixture of beech, yellow poplar, birches, maples, oaks, cherry, hickory and chestnut. Some of the best white pine areas of the U.S. were located here and contained upwards of one hundred thousand board feet per acre.

During the 1930's ten Civilian Conservation Corp. Camps on the Moshannon constructed and maintained roads, trails, bridges, tree plantations and recreational areas, including S.B. Elliott, Parker Dam and Black Moshannon State Parks. More recently, the discovery of the Boone Mountain and Benezette Natural gas fields have opened up many remote areas of the Moshannon State Forest.

The Quehanna Trail traverses the Moshannon State Forest from Parker Dam to Sinnemahoning in the Elk State Forest. Both the experienced and inexperienced primitive backpack hiker may exercise legs, lungs, mind and imagination on this 65-mile trail and its interconnecting loops. Further information and maps are available from the District Forester. Sparkling streams fed by clear springs offer native and stocked trout fishing. Hunters enjoy the myriad of game species abound within this area as a result of wise use and productive resource management practiced by trained foresters. Inhabitants include white-tailed deer, turkey, bear, squirrels and ruffed grouse. Snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are enjoyed in winter.

Attractions - The major tracts which now comprise the Moshannon State Forest were once held by large lumber companies, land holding companies and private individuals. The first purchase was 353 acres along Montgomery Run north of Clearfield on September 28, 1898 for $65.45 in delinquent taxes. The last tract of 9,909 acres was purchased from the Lehigh Valley Coal Co. in Centre County in 1956.

White pine and hemlock stands occupied the shady slopes and moist plateaus in the earliest recorded forests of the area. Many areas were covered with a mixture of beech, yellow poplar, birches, maples, oaks, cherry, hickory and chestnut. Some of the best white pine areas of the U.S. were located here and contained upwards of one hundred thousand board feet per acre. "...the wood is so thick, that for a mile at a time we could not find a place the size of a hand where the sunshine could penetrate, even in the clearest day..." according to Conrad Weiser in 1737. All this "virgin" timber was removed between 1860 and 1921. The high pine stumps, logging railroad tie marks, log slides and remnants of splash dams are all that remain to remind us of this earlier time.

Man-caused fires following these cuttings destroyed the humus and organic matter that nature took centuries to build. Some areas even today are open fields of bracken ferns and huckleberries between giant stumps of the previous forest. The resultant oak-chestnut timber type took another blow when the Chestnut blight wiped out the Chestnut prior to 1925. Today, work continues to establish natural Chestnut on the Moshannon State Forest.

During the 1930's ten Civilian Conservation Corp Camps on the Moshannon constructed and maintained roads, trails, bridges, tree plantations and recreational areas, including S.B. Elliott, Parker Dam and Black Moshannon State Parks. More recently, the discovery of the Boone Mountain and Benezette Natural gas fields have opened up many remote areas of the Moshannon State Forest.

A professionally administered program of comprehensive forest management harmonizes the multiple uses of the second-growth hardwood forest for the benefit of all the people of the Commonwealth on a sustained basis. To this end, the first comprehensive resource management plan for the Moshannon State Forest was formulated in 1955 and upgraded in 1970 to reflect the increased demands placed on the forest.

Recreation - The Moshannon State Forest provides an integrated system of designated State Forest Roads and specially constructed and groomed trails for snowmobilers. During winter these trails and roads are inaccessible to conventional vehicles. Snowmobiling completes year-round recreational opportunities on the forest lands. Maps of the trails are available from the District Forester.

The Quehanna Trail traverses the Moshannon State Forest from Parker Dam to Sinnemahoning in the Elk State Forest. Both the experienced and inexperienced primitive backpack hiker may exercise legs, lungs, mind and imagination on this 65-mile trail and its interconnecting loops. Further information and maps are available from the District Forester.

Sparkling streams fed by clear springs offer native and stocked trout fishing.

Hunters enjoy the myriad of game species abound within this area as a result of wise use and productive resource management practiced by trained foresters. Inhabitants include white-tailed deer, turkey, bear, squirrels and ruffed grouse.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Moshannon State Forest area generally has very cold winter months with temperatures averaging 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). The region's average summer temperatures average 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). Precautions should be made when traveling this snowy area in the winter.

Location - Located in central Pennsylvania, Moshannon State Forest saddles Interstate 80 just north of Clearfield.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Moshannon State Forest, District Forester, P.O. Box 952 , Clearfield, PA, 16830, Phone: 814-765-0821, Fax: 814-765-0621

Additional Information:
Allegheny National Forest Area - The Allegheny National Forest Region of Pennsylvania is a remote area of the state characterized by wilderness surroundings. This region offers the best opportunities for viewing elk and black bear.
Black Moshannon State Park - Perched on the top of the Allegheny Plateau, Black Moshannon State Park features the Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area. Trails and a boardwalk help people explore the birds and plants of the bog and surrounding forests. Stay overnight to extend your stay so you can explore the beautiful forests on the hiking trails
Elk State Forest - Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing and general recreational activities. The state forest land is delineated by metal tags and white paint marks on trees. Along major roads, the boundary markers are supplemented with wooden signs.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.
S.B. Elliott State Park - S.B. Elliott is a quiet, rustic, mountaintop recreational area just off of I-80 near the midpoint of the state. Once ravaged by the logging industry, the park now contains magnificent stands of maturing oak and maple that dominate the mountaintop. The park's rustic log cabins are perfect for a quiet getaway.
Valleys of the Susquehanna Area - The beautiful Susquehanna River winds through fertile valleys surrounded by forest covered ridges. Anglers can explore the world-class smallmouth bass fishing in the river or Penns Creek which is known as one of the best trout streams in America.

Links:
Moshannon State Forest - Official agency website

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