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Buchanan's Birthplace State Park



Appalachian Trail- The Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail segment touches nine public lands offering an opportunity for refreshment at campgrounds, restroom facilities, beaches and concessions. Many of the state parks and state forests along the route offer scenic overlooks, picnic grounds, fishing opportunities and fresh drinking water.
Buchanan State Forest- The Buchanan State Forest was named in honor of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. The area consists of five principal tracts that cover seventy thousand acres of Commonwealth-owned forest lands, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Cowans Gap State Park- Perched on a mountaintop and surrounded by Buchanan State Forest, Cowans Gap is a scenic place for a quiet getaway. Many park facilities, including the lake, picnic shelters, cabins and roads were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. The cabin colony is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tuscarora State Forest- The current forest plan sets objectives for sound multiple-use forest management which includes the maximum sustained yield of high quality timber products; protection of watersheds for the maximum yield of potable water; the exploration and the wise development of mineral resources; and providing the types of recreational opportunities available only from large tracts of forest land.

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General Information

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park
Copyright: - Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Buchanan's Birthplace State Park
Description - Cove Gap, Buchanan's birthplace, is a far cry from the modern world that many Americans take for granted. Though quiet and solitude now reign, the spirit of this place would have been much different on April 23, 1791, the day of James Buchanan's birth.

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is an 18.5 -acre park. Nestled in a gap of the Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County, the park and the forested mountains surrounding it offer an abundance of beauty throughout the year. There are two picnic pavilions and picnic tables. Drinking water and two comfort stations are provided. Buck Run flows through the park and provides a population of native trout for fishing enthusiasts. The Tuscarora Trail passes to the west of the park. The trail serves as a bypass to the Appalachian Trail and follows the crest of the Tuscarora Mountain. Nearby Cowans Gap State Park offers swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, hunting, family camping, family cabins, organized group camping, visitor center and an environmental education program.

Attractions - Cove Gap, Buchanan's birthplace, is a far cry from the modern world that many Americans take for granted. Though quiet and solitude now reign, the spirit of this place would have been much different on April 23, 1791, the day of James Buchanan's birth.

Then, it was the western edge of civilization; a place alive with the sights and sounds of a center of commerce. Though the surrounding Allegheny Mountains provided a formidable barrier to those seeking a way west, Cove Gap's cut through two of three parallel mountains made a westward journey a little easier. During those days, anyone seeking a route west passed through this gap.

In 1789, James Buchanan's father bought this place, first called Tom's Trading Place, in its heyday, complete with cabins, barns, stables, storehouses, store and orchard. He renamed it Stony Batter after the Buchanan home in northern Ireland and continued to operate the business until moving it to nearby Mercersburg when young James reached the age of six. Though young when he left Stony Batter, Buchanan's first home left a lasting impression. Years later in 1865, the owner of the site invited the former President to visit his birthplace. Buchanan wrote in reply, "It is a rugged but romantic spot, and the mountain and mountain stream under the scenery captivating. I have warm attachments for it..."

Recreation - Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is an 18.5-acre park. Nestled in a gap of the Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County, the park and the forested mountains surrounding it offer an abundance of beauty throughout the year.

At the park, there are two picnic pavilions and picnic tables. Drinking water and two comfort stations are provided for your convenience. Buck Run flows through the park and provides a population of native trout for fishing enthusiasts. Consult the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations concerning approved trout waters.

The Tuscarora Trail passes to the west of the park. The trail serves as a bypass to the Appalachian Trail and follows the crest of the Tuscarora Mountain.

Nearby Cowans Gap State Park offers swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, hunting, family camping, family cabins, organized group camping, visitor center and an environmental education program.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Buchanan's Birthplace State Park area generally has fairly cold winter months. This lower central area has temperatures averaging above 28 degrees Fahrenheit (above -2 degrees Celsius). The region's average summer temperatures range 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 Celsius).

Location - The park is located between McConnellsburg and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, near the village of Cove Gap along PA Route 16. From U.S. Route 30 at Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania take PA Route 75 south and follow the signs to Cove Gap and the park.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Buchanan's Birthplace State Park, c/o Cowans Gap State Park, 6235 Aughwick Road , Fort Loudon, PA, 17224-9801, Phone: 717-485-3948
, cowansgap@dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Appalachian Trail - The Appalachian Trail is a footpath of more than 2,150 miles with 222 miles lying in Pennsylvania. In 1921, U.S. Forest Service planner, Benton MacKaye wrote a magazine article suggesting a trail be established to connect Mount Washington in New Hampshire to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. As a result, in 1925 the Appalachian Trail Conference chose the exact path, flagged the path, built various sections, including shelters, bridges and steps. They even wrote guidebooks to aid the hiker and backpacker. In 1968, Congress passed the National Trails System Act, making the A.T. and the Pacific Crest Trail (a Canada to Mexico path) the first National Scenic Trails. Today there are ten clubs in Virginia that help maintain the trail which now extends from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Buchanan State Forest - The Buchanan State Forest was named in honor of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. The area consists of five principal tracts that cover seventy thousand acres of Commonwealth-owned forest lands, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Cowans Gap State Park - Perched on a mountaintop and surrounded by Buchanan State Forest, Cowans Gap is a scenic place for a quiet getaway. Many park facilities, including the lake, picnic shelters, cabins and roads were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. The cabin colony is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hershey / Dutch Country Area - History and natural delights intermingle with the hand-plowed farm fields of the Amish and the scent of the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
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.
Pennsylvania's Historic Sites -

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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