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Elk State Forest



Bucktail State Park- Hemmed in by mountains, this state park scenic drive follows PA Route 120 as it winds from Lock Haven to Emporium along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Sinnemahoning Creek. The scenic drive has no recreational facilities. In June, the mountain laurel is in bloom and in early October the fall colors are breathtaking.
Elk State Park- The main attraction at Elk State Park is the 1,160-acre lake with unlimited horsepower boating. For the more adventurous, water-skiing is an alternative to the serenity of fishing on the lake and in nearby streams. The lake and streams are stocked with both warm and cold water species of fish.
Moshannon State Forest- 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.
Sizerville State Park- The park is surrounded by 460,617 acres of Elk and Susquehannock state forests which offers recreational opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts.
In the spring and summer, small woodland flowers, flowering trees and mountain laurel blossom in profusion, adding their loveliness to the park and surrounding area. During the fall, the flaming foliage of the mixed hardwood forest provides a colorful backdrop for visitors to enjoy the park.


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General Information

Description - The Elk State Forest derives its name from the great number of elk that once thrived in the area. Pennsylvania's only elk herd can usually be found in the forests between the village of Benezette eastward into the Hicks Run watershed.

The virgin forest in the Elk District consisted of magnificent white pine, hemlock, some red pine, mixed oaks and northern hardwoods, which included beech, sugar, maple, birch and black cherry. The first timber removed from the district was the white pine used for ship masts. Some of the finest white pine spar trees in the country were removed from Sterling Run between 1865 and 1872. Fire protection, along with an active prevention program, has allowed the Elk State Forest to regenerate naturally to a hardwood forest more diverse than the previous pine / hemlock forest, and one that presents an unsurpassed display of fall coloration visible from several vistas.

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. In addition, it offers some of the best opportunities for both experienced and inexperienced hikers.

Attractions - The Elk State Forest derives its name from the great number of elk that once thrived in the area. Pennsylvania's only elk herd can usually be found in the forests between the village of Benezette eastward into the Hicks Run watershed.

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.

The virgin forest in the Elk District consisted of magnificent white pine, hemlock, some red pine, mixed oaks and northern hardwoods, which included beech, sugar, maple, birch and black cherry. The first timber removed from the district was the white pine used for ship masts. Some of the finest white pine spar trees in the country were removed from Sterling Run between 1865 and 1872.

The first purchase of land for the Elk State Forest was a 3,487-acre tract in Middle Jerry Run bought from D.R. Fullterton on May 31, 1900. Originally called Forest Reservations, these lands were purchased to reestablish a forest that had been nearly eliminated by cutting and burning.

Fire protection, along with an active prevention program, has allowed the Elk State Forest to regenerate naturally to a hardwood forest more diverse than the previous pine/hemlock forest, and one that presents an unsurpassed display of fall coloration visible from several vistas.

Recreation - The beautiful state forest offers several scenic vistas for the visitor.
Montours Vista - two miles north of PA Route 120 along the Montour Road.
Square Timber Vista (2) - on the west side of Ridge Road near Brooks Fire Tower.
Norcross Vista - on the east side of Ridge Road, one mile north of Stillhouse Road.
Whitehead Vista - on the west side of Ridge Road, two miles north of Stillhouse Road.
Logue Run Vista - on the east side of Ridge Road, south of Whitehead Road.
Salt Run Vistas (2) - on the west side of Ridge Road, one mile south of Crooked Run Road; and on the south side of Crooked Run Road just west of Ridge Road.
West Cowley Run Vista - on east side of PA Route 155, three miles south of Keating Summit.

The Elk State Forest offers some of the best opportunities for both experienced and inexperienced hikers to get out and really enjoy themselves. Currently, there are six hiking trails, maintained by various volunteers and our district staff, that serve as major trails on the forest.
The two premier trails are The Bucktail Path and The Quehanna Trail. The Bucktail begins near Sizerville State Park and extends southward approximately 30 miles to the village of Sinnemahoning. A hiker on this trail will travel through both the northern hardwood and oak hickory forest types. The trail can be traversed in short sections, if desired, and it can provide an enjoyable experience for both the beginning hiker and a challenge for the veteran. The Quehanna Trail, located in the southern part of Cameron County, loops through the Quehanna Wild Area and surrounding state forest land, covering approximately 30 miles on the Elk State Forest. The trail continues into the Moshannon State Forest for another 30 miles.

Other hiking trails of special note in the district are: The Fred Woods Trail, a five-mile loop taking the hiker to a unique area of large boulders and scenic vistas; The Pine Tree Trail, a self-guided two-mile walk along an interpretive trail that winds through The Pine Tree Natural Area; The Dividing Ridge/Eddy's Run Trail, a fairly easy ten-mile walk, close to Emporium, which has the hiker following a system of logging roads through a beautiful area of state forest land; and the newly created Elk Trail, where the hiker can cover 19 miles over railroad grades, pipelines, logging roads and sections of newly created trail, with a chance to see free-roaming elk in their eastern habitat.

No matter which trail you select, you will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery, see a variety of wildlife and thoroughly enjoy yourself. For maps or more information on any of the trails mentioned, contact either the District Forester or Harrisburg Headquarters.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Elk 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 - Elk State Forest is located principally in Elk and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania's north central region.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Elk State Forest, District Forester, RD 1, Rt. 155, P.O. Box 327 , Emporium,, PA, 15834, Phone: 814-486-3353, Fax: 814-486-5630

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.
Bendigo State Park - The peace and tranquility of this small park envelops the visitor. Located in a valley on a bank of the East Branch of the Clarion River, a charming streamside picnic area sits amidst a mixture of hardwood trees. A trout stream provides ample opportunities for anglers and the swimming pool is a big hit in summer.
Bucktail State Park - Hemmed in by mountains, this state park scenic drive follows PA Route 120 as it winds from Lock Haven to Emporium along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Sinnemahoning Creek. The scenic drive has no recreational facilities. In June, the mountain laurel is in bloom and in early October the fall colors are breathtaking.
Elk State Park - The main attraction at Elk State Park is the 1,160-acre lake with unlimited horsepower boating. For the more adventurous, water-skiing is an alternative to the serenity of fishing on the lake and in nearby streams. The lake and streams are stocked with both warm and cold water species of fish.
Moshannon State Forest - 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.
Sizerville State Park - The park is surrounded by 460,617 acres of Elk and Susquehannock state forests which offers recreational opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts.
In the spring and summer, small woodland flowers, flowering trees and mountain laurel blossom in profusion, adding their loveliness to the park and surrounding area. During the fall, the flaming foliage of the mixed hardwood forest provides a colorful backdrop for visitors to enjoy the park.

Links:
Elk State Forest - Official agency website

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