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.
On Sunday, September 22nd, the Friends of Rothrock State Forest hosted trail runners, gravel riders, and mountain bikers at Tussey Mountain to celebrate the trails of Rothrock State Forest. More than 115 outdoor enthusiasts took to the trails and roads to help raise funds in support of the construction and maintenance of new, sustainable, multi-use trails in accordance with the comprehensive trail plan.
In the largest field of the day, thirty-one runners finished the rocky 7-mile course which included 3 Bridges, Greenshoot, and Old Laurel trails among others. An additional eleven runners completed the 10-mile course which added sections of the Mid-State Trail.
The first riders to set-off for the day were the gravel cyclists venturing out on either the 25-mile or 50-mile courses. Full descriptions of the courses can be found in previous blog posts should you be looking to put together some fun rides of your own. Rothrock Outfitters was on course and holding down the stocked aid station at Alan Seeger Natural Area.
Heading out in search of the great view along Tussey Mountain Ridge and big adventure, the mountain bike riders found what they were looking for in spades. The 30-mile route riders had the opportunity to enjoy the fun descents of New Laurel and Croyle trails before joining the 20-mile course and the trip across "The Ridge," the technical challenge of John Wert Path, and a final rip down Lonberger.
Thanks goes out to all participants for joining us, the wonderful volunteers that made the event happen, and last but not least, the sponsors and supporters that provided prizes and venue.
Full results available at Falcon Race Timing and additional photos available on our Facebook page.
From Mile 25 to Mile 50
If you missed the description of the short course, which is also the first 25 miles of the long course, please see below or click this link.
The long course picks up at the intersection of North Meadows Road and Bear Meadows Road where you will make a right turn to follow Bear Meadows Road past the namesake Bear Meadows Natural Area. FYI - the Natural Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1966.
It's now time to do a little climbing and you'll know you're close to the top when you reach the hard left just before the crest of the hill. The climb is worth it as you're rewarded with the next several miles of descending punctuated by several switchbacks though you'll want to be cautious of the loose gravel and braking bumps in places. The road turns into a bit of a false flat before losing a little more elevation as you approach the left turn on to Stone Creek Road and a short stretch of pavement.
Enjoy the brief break on tarmac as the second big climb of the day awaits. Make a right turn on Seeger Road at the Alan Seeger Natural Area and you're quickly greeted by a short but very steep section before settling in to a lengthy climb through a beautiful section of forest. Once at the top, you'll roll along Rag Hollow Road, passing by a great view in both directions along a pipeline cut. Stay alert though when the road points downward, there is a sharp left upcoming to Kettle Road.
A quick little elevation gain lies ahead as you pass by Sassafras Trail and cross the Huntingdon County/Mifflin County line. After you crest the hill, it's a very fast descent ahead and since you won't have much time to take in the view, the panoramic view is below.
As things level out and you approach the T-intersection, take a quick right on to Coopers Gap Road, travel a short distance and as you start descending, keep an eye out for the turn to Conklin Road on your left. Again, a short little bit of elevation gain followed by another long, fast descent before things level out for a few miles. When the next intersection approaches, be prepared for a left turn on to Spruce Mountain Road.
A formidable climb of it's own, Spruce Mountain Road winds past several trail heads and hunting camps before what might be the best descent of the day due to the forest views and the curves that keep things interesting. The road finishes with a little uphill to the next T and a left turn on to Stone Creek Road. A gentle grade and good road surface will be welcomed at this point as you roll past Crowfield Road and the sign marking Penn Roosevelt State Park. Continuing on Stone Creek Road is largely flat and fast all the way back through the Alan Seeger area and the retracing of your tire tracks to Bear Meadows Road.
This road should look very familiar with a bit of a flat section followed by a grind back up past the popular Detweiler Trail and the same switchbacks and braking bumps you encountered on the way down. The good news though is as you crest the hill on this climb, you're basically done climbing for the day and it's a very fast ride past Bear Meadows Natural Area again and zipping down Bear Meadows Road gravel, then pavement, and finally back to the start/finish area at Tussey Mountain.