Monday, September 25, 2017

Walk in Penn’s Woods

On Sunday, October 1, bring your friends and family to the woods. As part of a statewide day of woods walks, Walk in Penn’s Woods aims to get people out to enjoy the woods, and to learn about how these woods work for us – from recreation and wildlife habitat to seeing the outcomes of timber harvests and learning about the history of lumbering in Pennsylvania.

As of September 19, there are 60 walks scheduled across the state, with many more still in the planning stages.

The October 1 walks are happening on state forests, gamelands, and parks, in the Allegheny National Forest, on municipality-owned watersheds, in city parks, and on the properties of private woodland owners.

Each walk will highlight different values we hold for the woods, and provide opportunities for visitors to interact with knowledgeable landowners and natural resources professionals. Some walks are guided walks; others will have stations set up to inform visitors about just what’s going on in the woods. The walks will happen rain or shine.

If you’ve ever had questions, or want to increase your understanding of the woods, come out for this statewide day celebrating Penn’s Woods.

Walk in Penn’s Woods is organized by a partnership among the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry, the Pennsylvania Forest Stewards volunteer program, Penn State Extension, and the Center for Private Forests at Penn State, along with our myriad partners around the state offering their time and resources to make the walks happen.

See list below for a walk being provided in your county.  Up-to-date listings of the walks can be found at:

      Bedford: Jackson Stewardship Forest, 2 – 5 p.m. Enjoy a nature walk on a private woodland near Everett
·        Bedford: Allegheny Front Experience, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Outstanding views, tree identification, and children’s activities. Cairnbrook.
·        Berks/Schuylkill: State Gamelands 110, 1 – 4 p.m. Restoring oak forests – past, present, and future. Bethel.
·        Bradford: The Haft, time TBD. Woodland and golden-winged warbler habitat management. Albany
·        Bucks: Durham-Springfield Fuller Preserve Walk, 1 p.m. This 1.8 mile guided walk will take you through the woods, passing streams, a lovely gorge, overlooks, and through an old growth forest site.
·        Cambria: Beaverdale Sportsmen’s Association, 9:30 a.m.. Woodland restoration from past degradation. Beaverdale.
·        Carbon: Bethlehem Water Authority, time TBD. Management of the 23,000 acre municipal watershed – including controlled burns, managing invasive plants, and forest diversity.
·        Centre: Musser Gap, Rothrock Forest, 1 – 4 p.m. Woods restoration from invasive plants and insects and new recreational opportunities. Route 45 between Boalsburg and Pine Grove Mills.
·        Centre: Ott Woods. 10 a.m. – Noon. Golden-winged warbler habitat management. Howard
·        Centre: Hartley Woods, Penn State Arboretum, Meet at the Overlook Pavilion at 11 a.m. Join the Penn State student chapter of the Society of American Forests for a walk through Penn State’s old growth forest. University Park.
·        Chester: Greens Valley Watershed Association, 9 – 11:30 a.m. Tree identification workshop and walk – includes a registration fee of $10 to cover workshop materials. Pottstown.
·        Clarion: Cook Forest Log Cabin Environmental Learning Cabin, 9 a.m. Guided walk with great birding opportunities. Cooksburg.
·        Columbia: Endless Mountains Zendo and the Nature and You Club, 1 – 4 p.m. Explore the diversity of trees on the Zendo property and discover the benefits trees provide, including health benefits. Registration fee of $10. Stillwater.
·        Crawford: Katz Natural Area, 2 – 4 p.m. Explore mature floodplain forest along the meandering Cussewago Creek, meadows, and beaver ponds. Tall hiking boots or knee boots are recommended. Rogers Ferry Road. GPS Coordinates available.
·        Crawford: Woodland Lodge, 1 – 4 p.m. Join the Foundation for Sustainable Forests for a Sunday afternoon stroll in a forest managed for forest health and habitat, commercial syrup production, and timber. Grand Valley.
·        Cumberland: Twining Tree Farm, time TBD. Learn about conservation easements as a land protection program and the Tree Farm program. Carlisle.
·        Dauphin: Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, 1 – 4 p.m. Walk the Ned Smith Center lands and learn about forest management, wildlife, mushrooms, and insects. Millersburg.
·        Dauphin: Detweiler Park, 9 a.m. Join the Manada Conservancy for a three-mile guided walk that will include birding highlights (bring your binoculars). Dauphin.
·        Elk: Finley Tree Farm, 2 p.m. Learn about oak regeneration and beech control. Ridgway.
·        Erie: Kirik Tree Farm, 2 – 6 p.m. Take a walk on private land to learn about American chestnut and managed forests. Corry.
·        Erie: Headwaters Park, 9:30 a.m. A 1.5 hour walk exploring unique species of frogs, reptiles, and salamanders. Erie.
·        Fayette: Fallingwater grounds hike. 9:30 – 11 a.m. Experience the nature reserve surrounding the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This hike is approximately 1.5 miles over moderate terrain. Tickets are required and must be purchased in advance. Mill Run.
·        Fayette: Bear Run Nature Reserve. 9 – 11 a.m. Explore Bear Run Nature Reserve featuring mature forests and clear mountain streams. This moderate 4 mile hike will include some rough and steep sections. Mill Run.
·        Forest: Hunter Run Tract, Cornplanter State Forest. 12 p.m. Take a leisurely walk on the Lashure Hiking Trail. Interpretation will be provided at various stops. Tionesta.
·        Forest: Tionesta Lake, 3 p.m. A tree ID walk along the Summit Trail. We’ll note key ID features, learn about emerald ash borer damage, and what the Army Corps of Engineers is doing to deal with the problem. Tionesta.
·        Franklin: Mont Alto State Park, 1 – 4 p.m. Join the Friends of Mont Alto State Park and the students of the Penn State Mont Alto Forestry Club in exploring the forest trails of Pennsylvania’s first state park. Mont Alto.
·        Fulton: State Gamelands 149 and Buchanan State Forest, 1 – 4 p.m. Walk to see a timber sale on Buchanan State Forest, road building, and invasive control methods, including hack-n-squirt treatments of tree-of-heaven and Pawlownia. Warfordsburg.
·        Greene: Thistle Tree Farm, 1 p.m. Tour a young red oak plantation, crop tree management, and a butternut, walnut, and red oak plantation. Waynesburg.
·        Huntingdon: Flicker Farm, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This self-guided walk follows marked trails through varied habitat with streams, vernal pools, and regenerating mixed hardwoods. Alexandria.
·        Jefferson: Miller Stewardship Property, 2 p.m. A guided 2 mile walk through woods, orchards, and along streams. Brookville.
·        Juniata: Karl Guss Picnic Area, 1 -4 p.m. Scenic walk on the Tuscarora State Forest trails highlighting tree identification and timber management. Picnic area across Licking Creek.
·        Lancaster: Camp Oak Hill, 1 p.m. Tour beautiful landscape of hardwood forests, mature pines, meadows, riparian habitat, gardens, and new orchard (including pawpaw). Nottingham.
·        Lancaster: Hands Woods Restoration, 1 p.m. Hosted by a community partnership around restoring the ecological integrity of Lancaster's largest urban forest, Hands Woods, and improving it as an amenity to the community. The Partnership will reveal its newly created master plan while taking you on a walking tour of the woods. A trail maintenance activity will also be coordinated. Lancaster.
·        Lancaster/Lebanon: Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, 1 p.m. Learn about wildlife habitat creation and land conservation on this PA Game Commission property. Stevens.
·        Lehigh: Flint Hill Farms, 1 – 4 p.m. Tour a working farmland from the 1900s. Take self-guided walk through the woods, visit the farm market, see the animals. Coopersburg.
·        Lycoming: Williamsport Municipal Water Authority, 12:30 – 4 p.m. At 2 p.m., a guided hike on the Bluebird Trail; open house at the Waterdale Environmental Education Center. Duboistown.
·        McKean: Donald J. Comes Natura Resources Learning Center, 1 p.m. Guided tour of upland hardwood forests will cover ID, wildlife sign, BMPs, and basic forest inventory measurements. Learn how to use this information to develop a forest management plan for your woods. Smethport.
·        Mercer: Lawyer Stewardship Forest, 2 p.m. Walk through the woods with DCNR forester Dave Cole, Learn tree identification and valuable information about western Pennsylvania forests. Mercer.
·        Monroe: Wildlands Conservancy, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Learn about creating golden-winged warbler habitat and forest restoration. Lunch provided, but registration required. Blakeslee.
·        Montgomery: Fisher Woods, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walk logging trails through woods on a working livestock farm; see a wood processing demonstration. Green Lane.
·        Montgomery: Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary, 9 a.m. Get to know this unique open space and see wetlands, water bodies, and steep slopes. Bring your binoculars for great birdwatching. Abington Township.
·        Montour: Montour Preserve, 1:30 p.m. Trail walk to demonstration forest management practices that woodland owners could implement. Tour will visit white oak woods, a chestnut planting, deer exclosure, and more. Danville.
·        Northumberland: Carbaugh Stewardship Property. 1:30 p.m. Take a walk on a stewardship property with an American Chestnut Foundation breeding orchard. Danville.
·        Perry: Hunkey Hollow. 9 a.m. Learn about animal signs and how landowners use hunter management programs. Duncannon.
·        Philadelphia: Pennypack on the Delaware. 10 a.m. – Noon. Hosted by the Delaware River Corporation and co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, this guided walk of the Pennypack on the Delaware trail will include a visit to a small tidal wetland preserve and discussions about native plants, wildlife, and insects. Philadelphia.
·        Philadelphia: Papa Playground, Cobbs Creek Park. 5:30 p.m. This walk in the Morris Park section of Cobbs Creek will watch for evening songbird activity, as well as watching bats and owls as they begin to stir. Philadelphia.
·        Philadelphia: Wissahickon Valley Park. 10 a.m. Walk through time exploring the multiple layers of human and natural history. Philadelphia.
·        Pike: Delaware State Forest, 9 a.m. Land management activities along with the area’s natural features – including timber harvest, emerald ash borer treatment, and recreational opportunities. Greentown.
·        Potter: Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, 1 p.m. Guided walk on the interpretive trail; free admission to the Lumber Museum after the walk. Ulysses.
·        Schuylkill: Locust Lake State Park, 1 p.m. Identify trees and shrubs, learn about forest benefits, and experience the solace and peacefulness of the forest. Barnesville.
·        Snyder: Selinsgrove Center Trail of Trees, 1:30 p.m. Tour a half mile tree ID trail complete with full color plaques identifying leaf, twig, bark, and fruit for 25 trees. Selinsgrove.
·        Somerset: Thomas Stewardship Forest, time and tour highlights TBD. Johnstown.
·        Sullivan: Dwight Lewis Lumber Company, Inc., 2 p.m. See ash tree salvage, timber management and the use of deer fences. Laporte.
·        Tioga: Irion Lumber Company, 2:30 p.m. Take a short walk with us and discuss natural resource diversity on this working forest/farm/sawmill operation in central Tioga County. Wellsboro.
·        Union: Wild Goose Farm, 3 p.m. Gerald Hoy, DCNR Service Forester, will lead a walk through a 20-acre woodland to discuss invasive species and the cultivation of non-timber forest products. The walk will be followed by a mushroom inoculation workshop. Lewisburg.
·        Venango: Stanton’s Tree Farm, 2 p.m. Take a guided walk and talk across the Stanton’s Tree Farm to showcase their hard work to manage the property to its fullest potential for wildlife habitat and timber development. Titusville.
·        Warren: Heart’s Content National Scenic Area, 2 p.m. A walk through Heart's Content among the 500 year old hemlock and white pine. Trail winds around 1 mile through the timber stand before returning to the picnic area. GPS coordinates available.
·        Warren: Woodland Lodge, 1 p.m. Learn about a forest managed for health and habitat, commercial syrup production, and timber. We’ll talk sap, tree ID, wildlife habitat, and more. Green Valley.
·        Washington: Burnham Tree Farm, 2 p.m. Observe wildlife habitats, including ponds, wetlands, and pollinator fields. See forest regeneration in our black walnut plantation, and riparian buffers. West Finley.
·        Washington: Knaus Farm, 1 p.m. An exploratory guided tour of young and mature woods, fields, and an American chestnut planting. Bethel Park.
·        Wayne: Olver Tree Farm, 1:30 – 5 p.m. Learn about the value of wetlands, directional tree felling, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s DMAP program, and pond management. Honesdale.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Great Forestry Needs Low-Grade Timber Markets for Biomass

I wanted to share the below editorial with my readers. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I was just reiterating this fact while teaching at the New Forest Stewards Training this week. Strong markets for low grade, whether paper, energy, firewood, or something else, allow us to practice proper forest management. 

I have been blessed over my forestry career to experience both, strong low grade markets and virtually no low grade markets. Where there are no markets our ability to practice proper forest management is severely compromised. It has also been shown that strong markets for forest products help keep forests as forests. In other words, landowners are less likely to sell land and conversions to others uses, like development, are less likely to happen. How do we develop a strong biomass market in our state?

This story was originally published in The Commons, Voices and Letters from Readers.

As a consulting forester helping landowners manage thousands of acres of forest land across Massachusetts, I support more utilization of forest biomass because without low-grade timber markets, we cannot practice great forestry.

This movie Burned is nothing more than anti-forestry propaganda. We do not clear-cut forests for biomass. Only junk wood is chipped. Biomass is, in essence, stored solar energy and is a byproduct of our forestry operations, all of which allows us to grow more high-quality saw timber, which is the main product.

Increased markets for forest biomass have produced more forest-improvement cuttings that help landowners:
• manage their woodlots to a high standard by greatly improving timber quality and species composition;
• improve wildlife habitat;
• generate income;
• increase property values as well as timber values;
• encourage landowners to keep their land in forest.

Biomass markets and improvement cuttings also provide many real green jobs right up the wood-supply chain and help to provide many forest products for consumers and a source of clean, locally produced, renewable energy.

The use of wood for energy is carbon neutral as long as the forests are growing faster than they are being cut. Here in Massachusetts, that is the case. There are numerous studies that show the great carbon benefits of biomass utilization.

We need more markets for forest biomass, especially in those areas that have no access to any significant low-grade timber markets. We need to stop all renewable energy credits for forest-and-field-destroying, made-in-China toxic solar “farms” and mountain-ecosystem-destroying and bird-shredding wind “farms.”

Those credits should be redirected to locally produced and sustainable biomass so we can create more local jobs and improve more of our forest land.

By Mike Leonard

Friday, September 8, 2017

PA Tree Farmer Profiled in Conservation

Centre County, Pennsylvania, Tree Farmer Susan Benedict is highlighted in the Profiles in Conservation by the Forest Service NE Area State and Private Forestry. 

Profiles in Conservation 
Susan Benedict
Keys to keeping land in the family — reaching consensus, diversifying revenue

By Glenn Rosenholm

Most forest landowners are not certified accountants; Susan Benedict is. She can do the math, and that gives her a huge advantage in keeping their Pennsylvania land in the family for generations to come.

Benedict has a B.S. in Accounting from Penn State, and she works as the controller for a local real estate group. Accountants typically possess excellent math and planning skills, both of which are very important to managing real estate, including forest land.

She spent a lot of time on her family’s extensive forested landholdings. She grew to love their woods, almost as much as she would love a relative. Her family shares her affection for their land. To them, it’s not just a patch of dirt waiting to be developed; it is much more.

“We discussed this as a family, and we consider our land to be a partner or member of the family. So all the decisions we make consider the land and its health, just like you would consider a member of the family,” Benedict said. “My grandfather purchased it in 1943. We didn’t live there, but we spent a lot of time there as kids and adults. My dad, every spare minute he had he was on the property, and he took us along.”

She and her brothers later inherited the land from their father, Lewis Shoemaker, in 2006. Today, she and her brother Michael Shoemaker own 2,078 acres of forested land—an enormous family estate.

Benedict owns it in a 50-percent partnership with her brother. There were three siblings initially, though her middle brother passed away after their father died.

Today, she is 58 years old, and her husband, Leroy, is 65. They have three adult sons—Lewis, Jacob, and Zachary Benedict. “My husband and I are currently residing on the property; we moved in last November,” she said. Her living brother and partner, Michael, 55, is married to his wife, Connie.
To read the rest of the story click here.

Read about the Benedict family as 2012 Pennsylvania Outstanding Tree Farmers at the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program Web site.