STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Friends of Rothrock State Forest, a chapter of The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation, has been awarded a $365,700 grant to develop, create, and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities. The grant was part of more than $11 million awarded by The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for 37 trail development projects across Pennsylvania. Funding for the grant was provided by the Recreational Trails Program, an assistance program of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
Money received from the grant will fund phase one of the Rothrock State Forest Trail Assessment, which takes multiple approaches to assess the current conditions and address the sustainability of the trail system throughout Rothrock State Forest. The first phase of implementation specifically addresses connecting the greenway leading from Whitehall Road across Route 45 and into Musser Gap. Phase one comprises three sections of new, multi-use trail throughout Musser Gap, up to and over the ridge formed by Tussey Mountain, ultimately leading to Pine Swamp Road.
Dan Trew, Chairman of the Friends of Rothrock State Forest had this to say about the grant award. “The Friends of Rothrock is excited to begin working towards a more connected forest utilizing state-of-the-art, sustainable trail building techniques. This grant was made possible by all the hard work of volunteers with the Friends group; with actual miles going on the ground the need for more volunteers is paramount. Anyone interested in helping give back to the forest is invited to join us in shaping the future of passive recreation in Rothrock State Forest.”
“Investments in our parks and forests through private philanthropy and volunteer time is an important role that visitors can play to ensure the health and viability of our state lands,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. “We applaud the Friends of Rothrock for their hard work and we extend our appreciation to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for recognizing the important value this project brings to residents and visitors alike.”
About 30 people attended the Friends of Rothrock State Forest’s first outreach and educational event “Deer, Forest Health & Hunting in Rothrock State Forest” on November 21st at the Boalsburg Fire Hall. Attendees saw presentations from Dr. Duane Diefenbach of Penn State and Helen Schlemmer from the PA Game Commission who shared fascinating videos of Game Commission staff capturing and applying radio collars to white-tailed deer. The associated GPS telemetry movement data collected forms the basis of The Deer-Forest Study taking place in Rothrock State Forest. The data is being collected to investigate how deer browsing and soil conditions interact to affect the understory vegetation in our forests and ultimately, long-term forest health. Mark Ternent of the PA Game Commission and Josh Thompson from DCNR Bureau of Forestry explained the Deer Management Assistance Program, also known as DMAP, in Rothrock State Forest and the important role hunters and hunting play in the overall management of deer in Penns Woods. Thanks to all of our presenters as well as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers for offering venison appetizers at the social that followed the presentations.
Watch for announcement for 2020 outreach events here in our blog and on our Facebook page.
On October 5th, nearly twenty members and volunteers of the Friends of Rothrock State Forest along with Rothrock State Forest Recreation Forester Jonathan Snyder teamed up to perform trail maintenance on the Bear Meadows Loop Trail.
Perfect weather and a motivated group were able to clear the trail corridor of overgrown brush, fallen trees, and other debris along roughly two miles of the trail. In less than seven hours, the vast majority of the trail was cleared and is now a better experience for all to enjoy and more accessible for future planned maintenance efforts. As weather permits, further work on the trail will be scheduled for any remaining clean-up and the beginning of trail tread improvements featuring significant use of natural, sawed, locust logs to construct puncheons. Puncheons are a proven and effective way to cross bogs, marshes, and wetland areas that do not lend themselves well to drainage.
Rothrock State Forest relies on volunteers to maintain its extensive trail system and we would love to have you join us for a future trail maintenance day. Be sure to sign up as a member and join us for a work day or other activity in the days to come.
The Friends of Rothrock State Forest chapter of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from the 2019 funding pool of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (formerly the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau). The purpose of the grant is to assist in the development of a multi-use trail to better connect the State College area with the extensive trail system in Rothrock State Forest. The first phase is part of a comprehensive plan to significantly increase the available miles of trails and to help develop Rothrock as a "destination" trail system.
Autumn is a fabulous time to be in the woods - the bugs are diminished, the air is crisp and smells great and with the leaves coming down you can see the landscape much better. However, fall is also the peak time for hunting so some extra precaution is necessary. The key point is to make yourself easy to see and be heard. The same is true for your dog or horse.
Expect increased activity at the hunting camps along the forest roads and please be respectful of any hunters you may encounter while you are out recreating. Many hunters will chose not to engage in conversation while hunting, preferring to remain quiet to prevent scaring the game.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires hunters in deer season to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange, covering the head, chest and back. It should be visible for 360 degrees. Typically a hat and vest meet these requirements. This is good advice for non-hunting users of Rothrock State Forest in the fall, too.
If you are interested in knowing the various hunting seasons, the Game Commission publishes this information on its website. It is organized by geographical management unit and Rothrock is largely contained in management units 4A and 4D. The statewide maps of management units can be viewed here.
Statewide archery season for deer begins October 5th and continues through November 16th before resuming December 26 - January 20th.