We were delighted with the enthusiastic response to the
first issue of The Hemlock and are pleased to offer you another issue. The Hemlock
is a publication of the Environmental Focus Group,
whose goal is to help the LHU community develop a deeper sense
of place. Such a sense of place involves
natural resources (environmentalism), meaningful outdoor
experiences, and appreciation for the heritage of the region.
We'd be delighted to publish articles from faculty, students,
and staff on any aspect of these issues. If you'd like to
contribute or if you have an idea that you'd like to see
developed, please contact Bob
Myers. A theme of this issue is water--if there is
anything that is central to the cultural, environmental, and
recreational identity of Lock Haven, it's the Susquehanna River.
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated, an
event that coincided with the beginning of the modern
environmentalist movement. Since then Earth Day has
represented an opportunity to focus energy on worldwide
environmental citizenship and progressive action.
This year, Earth Day falls on
a Tuesday, but Lock Haven University will be celebrating the
spirit of Earth Day on Saturday, April 26th.
Cooperative Council, Inc and the
Community Service Office for Global Citizenship will be
teaming up for an all-out community service day. They have
called the day "THE
BIG EVENT." The plan is to mobilize students, staff,
and faculty to give back to the community. On this day, all 14
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Schools will be
doing community service simultaneously. Registration
applications are available in the Student Cooperative Council,
Inc office in the PUB or the Community Service office in Raub
Clinton County Cleanscapes offers a wonderful opportunity to
honor Earth Day on April 26th by participating in a clean-up of
an area that is part of the proposed Castanea Rails-to-Trails
Connector (see below). We
strongly encourage LHU faculty, staff, and students to contact
Elisabeth Lynch McCoy at 570-893-4123 or by email at
email@example.com. For information about
Clinton Cleanscapes, including the 2008 schedule of cleanups,
check out their
Our River: The West Branch of the Susquehanna
--Md. Khalequzzaman (LHU Geology Professor)
Not enough can be said about the role that water
plays in our life. Water is life, and rivers are the lifelines
that connect communities. Since the amount of water is not
increasing, but the population that relies on that water is
growing fast, humans are putting increasing pressure on this
limited resource. Accordingly, water has become a major source
of conflict, and some believe that the next world war will not
be fought over land, but over water. In many parts of the world
both the availability and the quality of water are steadily
declining. Developmental pressure, changes in the land-use
practices, and climate change are contributing to deterioration
of the quality of water in the world, including the water in our
own backyard – Pennsylvania.
Here in the
heartland of Pennsylvania we are blessed with a fair amount of
surface water and groundwater. The major source of our water in
central Pennsylvania is the West Branch of Susquehanna River and
its numerous tributaries. Water in the West Branch drains
parts of 12 counties and is the thread that connects over half a
million people living within its 3,345 sq. miles of watershed.
The West Branch also connects our two campuses at Lock Haven and
Clearfield. In 2005, in recognition of her breathtaking beauty,
the West Branch of Susquehanna River was named the “River of the
Year” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, in
the same year, the Susquehanna River was also named “America’s
Most Endangered River” by American Rivers, a national
conservation organization. How can the “River of the Year” be
the “Most Endangered River” in the same year? The truth is that
our beautiful river is seriously ill. We need to work
tirelessly to cure her ill so that she can serve us well in
years to come. While we have enough water to meet the needs of
our current population and projected population growth in the
immediate future, we face serious challenges in terms of the
quality of that water.
major source of pollution is acid mine drainage (AMD) that
discharges over six tons of toxic metals annually into theWest
Branch and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. AMD is the legacy of
unregulated coal mining activities in Pennsylvania, and it
renders the water unsuitable for aquatic life. Millions of
dollars have been spent over the last few decades for various
types of AMD treatment facilities, but the end is not in sight.
The total cost for treatment of the acid drainage will exceed
$16 billion and will take several decades. Once the river and
its tributary streams are restored there is tremendous potential
for tourism dollars through recreational fishing.
serious problem is nutrient and sediment pollution from
agricultural and urban run-off as well as wastewater discharge.
Since the mid 1980s, the federal government and the six states
that form the Chesapeake Bay watershed (NY, PA, MD, DE, VA, and
WV) have taken initiatives to clean up the bay. The latest
initiative is termed as the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. Under
this agreement, Pennsylvania's goal is to reduce the amount of
nitrogen in its rivers from 112 million pounds to 72 million
pounds, and the amount of phosphorus from 3.5 million pounds to
2.3 million pounds. Seven years into the agreement, the goal is
far from fulfilled. It is unlikely that Pennsylvania and other
states involved will be able to accomplish the goals set for
2010. The main obstacles to the cleanup efforts include lack
of coordination and commitments in Washington, lack of federal
and state funds required to improve the outdated sewage
treatment facilities (123 in PA), and conflict among the various
groups involved in the cleanup. For example, although
agriculture remains the major contributor of sediment and
nutrient pollutions, local sewage treatment plants face a state
and federal mandate to upgrade the existing facilities. Since
few funds have been provided, many local governments and
municipalities feel that they are being targeted unfairly, and
many municipalities have filed a lawsuit against the state
government challenging this mandate.
the Chesapeake Bay cleanup be a priority issue for the people
living in the West Branch of Susquehanna River watershed? The
answer is yes, absolutely. The Chesapeake Bay is a true
national treasure and a unique ecosystem. Furthermore, many
businesses in central Pennsylvania are dependent on the crabs
and fishes from the bay, and many Pennsylvanians enjoy
recreational opportunities available in and around the bay. A
large share of pollutants that impair the bay originates in our
own backyards, and it is our moral obligation to do our part.
But we also need to clean our rivers to improve the quality of
life and the economy of our region. It is only through a
cleaner environment that we will be able to reclaim the true
glory of the sparking river that nestles in the heartland of
Pennsylvania. Together we can transform the West Branch of
Susquehanna River from being an impaired body of lifeless water
into a true gem that bustles with life.
information visit the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation website. There are two
excellent books on the Susquehanna River: Susan Q. Stranahan's
Susquehanna: River of Dreams (John Hopkins Univ. Press,
1995), and Jack Brubaker's Down the Susquehanna to the
Chesapeake (Penn State Univ. Press, 2003). Both books
are available at bookstores and at Stevenson Library. The
Susquehanna River Water Trail--West Branch
map can be purchased at Rock River & Trail (see below)
--Lenny Long (LHU Recreation
At its peak in 1920, the U.S.
railroad system had 300,000 miles of track. However, the
increasing popularity of the automobile and the airplane led to
a significant drop in railroad travel. Today, only half of the
original rail network is still in place, and each year the
railroads abandon an additional l2,000 miles of track. As rails
were removed, hikers and bicyclists discovered the opportunity
to be immersed in nature by traversing these rail corridors. The
abandoned rail beds are flat and gently curved, and they
bordered formerly unreachable scenic destinations, connecting
communities to the countryside. The strong interest in these
abandoned railways served as a catalyst for support
organizations to formally address the various issues associated
with the conversion efforts. As a result, the
Conservancy (RTC) was founded in1986, “as non-profit
organization working with communities to preserve unused rail
corridors by transforming them into trails, enhancing the health
of America’s environment, economy, neighborhoods and people.”
The RTC cites that there are well over 1,000 trails
extending more that 14,000 miles throughout the US. Furthermore,
there are an additional 1,200 projects underway that will add
approximately 18,000 more miles to this extensive system.
The RTC has documented many
benefits of this trails conversion program. They include 1) the
promotion of tourism and economic development, 2) the
preservation of the nation’s industrial heritage, 3) the
provision of a safe place to walk or bike, 4) the cleaning of
abandoned industrial sites, 5) the encouragement of alternative
transportation routes, and 6) the preservation of natural
corridors and native species.
One local Rail-to-Trails project,
Pine Creek Trail, was recently voted by USA Today as one of
the “10 great places to take a bike tour.” This 60-mile long
trail travels through the Pine Creek Gorge. The Jersey
Shore end of the trail is only 12 miles from Lock Haven
University and provides the outdoor enthusiast with endless
vistas, frequent glimpses wildlife, and a nature bonding
experience that will increase the user’s attachment to central
A new Rails-to-Trails initiative
would like to develop a 12-14 mile connector trail from Castanea
Township to the current trail head in Jersey Shore, bringing the
trail even closer to campus. This projected adjunct will
provide hikers and biking enthusiasts with significant
historical and heritage interpretations, beginning with the
renovated rail station in Castanea. There are also plans to
include a number of fitness stations and a variety of supporting
amenities (benches, bike racks, and picnic tables) to enhance
the outdoor enthusiast’s experience.
This Rails-to-Trails system is a
terrific opportunity to experience the natural wonders of
Central Pennsylvania. Get out and bike or hike and experience
For more information visit the
Rails-to-Trails Guide and the
Trails from Rails
website. If anyone has any questions concerning the Rails
to Trails program in Clinton County, feel free to contact
Elizabeth Vance McCoy, Clinton County Tourism Infrastructure
Planner at 893-4039.
Rock River and Trail
--Amanda Alexander (LHU Journalism
the beautiful scenery around us, many in the LHU community have
yet to venture into the outdoors. If The Hemlock has
sparked your curiosity about spending time outside, Rock River &
Trail Outfitters is a great place to start. Located at 57
Bellefonte Avenue, just down the street from East Campus, RR&T
has everything students need for a great day of hiking or
kayaking, including name-brand gear and tons of free maps
and map books.
For those who need a little
more adventure in their lives, RR&T owner Rick Henrich
recommends kayaking. Henrich said he mostly gets beginners in
his store, and he gears his classes toward them. “I do a rolling
class at the YMCA for people that want to learn how to roll or
brush up on their rolling skills,” he said, adding that he also
offers demos and guided trips with shuttle services. When he
meets a beginner who wants to get started right away, the first
thing he does is ask several questions to figure out what type
of kayak would suit them best. The size of kayak depends on the
size of the person, as well as where they choose to use it.
Kayaks can be bought or rented.
Henrich established RR&T five
years ago. “I though it would be a good fit,” he said. Henrich
has spent plenty of time outdoors. “This is what I love to do. I
have 25 years of experience,” he said, noting 10 years of
kayaking, 15 years of hiking, and some snowshoeing experience.
Henrich can’t name a favorite wilderness experience because
“they’re all good,” he said.
Along with mountain biking,
hiking and kayaking services, RR&T also offers snowshoe trips in
the winter (snowshoes can be rented), as well as clothing for
the outdoors and a full line of footwear. Hours of operation are
Mon.-Thurs. 10-5, Fri. 10-7, and Sat. 9-5. You can contact
Rick through the
Rock River & Trail website, by
phone, (570) 748-1818, or by
Hike: Where Your Water Comes From
Leonard Charles, Jim
Dodge, Lynn Milliman and Victoria Stockley have developed a quiz
to evaluate your sense of place. Titled
"Where You At? A Bioregional Quiz," it asks a series of
questions about the environment in which you live. The
first question is: "Trace the water you drink from precipitation
to tap." To help you get started answering this question,
you might take the following hike.
From the Clinton County
Courthouse (Water & Jay streets), turn right onto Jay Street.
Go .7 miles and turn left onto 220 North (Williamsport).
Go 4.5 miles to the next exit (McElhattan), and at the bottom of
the ramp turn right. Continue 1.2 miles on Reservoir Road,
which becomes a fairly rough gravel road after the first half
mile. When your reach a red gate, park your car. Go
through the gate (it's legal) and follow the gravel road.
pass a second red gate, and, after about .4 miles (8
minutes), you'll see some white buildings to the left.
This is Zindel Park, a true oddity. In the late 1920s, the
City of Lock Haven constructed the small reservoir and the
house, which was occupied by water officials. Next to the
reservoir is a shrine, which contains lava from the
Mount Etna volcano. After you've explored Zindel Park,
return to the gravel road and continue up it for five minutes
until you reach the dam of Keller Reservoir. Lock Haven's
water supply is stored in this reservoir and in McElhattan
Reservoir, which is 3.5 miles up McElhattan Creek. If you
continue to follow the road to the left, it crosses the creek
(depending on water level you might get your feet wet), and then
runs beside the reservoir, offering great views. When you've
reached the end of the reservoir, you've hiked about 1.25
miles--you can return to your vehicle or continue to explore the
trails upstream from the reservoir.
The water we drink comes from
rain and snow that falls on the ground within the McElhattan
Creek watershed. Part of the precipitation forms surface run-off
that flows to McElhattan Reservoir via McElhattan Creek. Other
precipitation percolates into the ground and forms springs and
groundwater that seep into McElhattan Creek. You
probably recall that this fall, the McElhattan Reservoir was
being repaired, and due to the drought conditions, Keller was
drained almost to the bottom, which meant that Lock Haven had to
draw its water from the Susquehanna River.
The Durwachter Alumni
Conference Center Goes Green
--Paula Kistler (LHU Foundation Fiscal Manager)
Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center recently applied for LEED
certification. According to the
U.S. Green Building Council, “The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted
benchmark for the design, construction and operation of
high-performance green buildings. LEED certification provides
independent, third-party verification that a building project is
environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to
live and work.”
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has asked that all
campuses strive for LEED design and certification while planning
and building new facilities. The Durrwachter Alumni Conference
Center will not only be the first LEED building on the Lock
Haven University, it is the first in Clinton County and perhaps
the first in the PA Wilds.
design and construction, the project team aspired for LEED
certification. At points there was a potential for Silver
Certification, but at the end of the day it submitted the
application with 32 points, missing Silver by one point.
involves six major categories: Sustainable Sites, Water
Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor
Environmental Quality and Innovation & Design Process. The team
attempted and applied for points in each of the categories.
Notable aspects of the facility earning points include: a
shower/changing room & bike rack, designated parking for
low-emitting & fuel efficient vehicles, optimization of energy
performance, storage and collection of recyclables, construction
waste management, regional materials and controlability of
strong plan, over 85% of the construction waste was diverted
from the landfill, earning the project two points. More than 20%
of the materials used in construction needed to be manufactured
locally, and of those materials, 50% harvested locally. 59.13%
of the project’s materials were manufactured locally while 56.8%
were harvested locally, achieving two more points toward the
team believes they have earned more than enough points to
achieve certification, the application is under review by the
U.S. Green Building Council. The design professionals believe it
could take up to a year for final certification to be confirmed
Paddle Park in Lock Haven
--John Crossen (LHU Building Maintenance Foreman)
might be wondering, "What
is a ‘Paddle Park?"
It is a man-made area of a river or stream that provides a
recreational area for non- powered, paddle craft (canoes or
kayaks). Water parks in other parts of the U.S. have drawn
boaters to an area. Paddling clubs have used these parks for
competitions such as slalom racing and rodeo events that test
the paddlers’ ability to perform turns, rolls and other
technical moves. The parks offer a healthy and fun way to
exercise, and boating is an excellent way to teach young people
life skills such as swimming, basic boater responsibility, river
etiquette and water safety. A well-planned park also enhances
stream conditions for fish and other aquatic life, by providing
habitat, shelter and resting areas for fish, birds, animals, and
insects. Furthermore, paddle parks stabilize and improve
stream banks. Currently, the closest paddle park is
Sunnyside in Bellefonte, and one has been proposed at
Creek Gorge near Altoona. With the growing number of
recreational boaters in the area, Tim Holladay and Elisabeth
Lynch McCoy of the Clinton County Planning Commission have been
working to create one of these "park and play" areas in Lock
Haven, perhaps on Bald Eagle Creek.
How to Speak Pennsylvanian
--Bob Myers (LHU English Professor)
A key part of a strong regional
identity is language. You'd expect a southerner to say
"Are y'all fixin' to eat those grits?" and someone from New England
might drive her "ca' up to Ha'va'd ya'd." Local-color
literature in the late nineteenth century celebrated regional
dialects and cultures, but, regrettably, mass culture has
resulted in a leveling out of differences--eventually, we'll all
speak like David Letterman. Knowing the "official"
language is important, but preserving local dialects is also
important. Were I to write a central
Pennsylvania local-color novel, the characters might sound like
this: "I was down at the crick when I
remembered that my mom wanted me to redd up my room. So I
jumped in my truck, but on the way home I swerved onto the berm.
When I got home, I could see that my truck needed warshed real
bad. Later I drank a few Ying-lings and thought about how
great life is in Pee-Ay" Or somethin' like'at. Some of this came from
"You Might Be From Pennsylvania" and the rest came
from observations about my own speech proffered by my New
How does our orientation to
others and the world have an impact on the environment? What
obligations do we have to the environment? Future generations?
Others in the world?
In the first summer session, Professor Whitman Hoff of the
Philosophy Department will explore these questions in an online
course--PHIL400 "Ethics and the Environment." The course
will examine particular
environmental issues and cases of ethical concern as well as
world views and perspectives that influence one's attitude
toward the environment. Philosophical and ethical
frameworks will be discussed that will help work toward
resolution of environmental problems. The topics may include
preservation vs. conversation, holistic ethics,
anthropocentrism, wilderness, feminist approaches to
environmental ethics, Deep Ecology, radical environmental
activism, and environmental justice. For more information,
contact Professor Joan Whitman
Where to Eat in Central
Beyond The Surface
Artist Ken Hull
recently published a guide to the best locally owned restaurants
and bars in
central Pennsylvania. Going Local gives directions
to and reviews of his favorite places. You can buy the book
at D. Dashem Books (109 E. Main Street), at the Old Corner
(205 North Grove Street) or at the author's
--Vincent Goodwin (LHU English Major)
cry on rainy days?
Do all rainbows lead to gold?
Aren't trees worth more than currency?
Are bare mountains still beautiful?
Do trees need warmth
Do bees make honey to stay alive?
And do they fight just to die?
I bet mother knows more about surviving than I do.
Maybe we can learn a thing – or two
By listening to her voice – speaking
Can you feel her breathing?
Against your skin and through your hair?
I can ... can you?
And do you care?
You would care if you understand...
Do you understand that people - like rivers come from
And your first impression
Is a shallow understanding of the picture being painted
Do you see the puzzle?
Because people won’t tread deeper to reach the horizon
Where the water-and-sun meet
So does the beach do the ocean justice?
Will the world drown in reality?
And if it does can you save it?
You could if you helped
So will you help?
You would help if you cared
So will you care?
You would care if you understand
So do you understand?
Try listening to the Ocean's sand
Because then you will gain an understanding
Of reality in the deep end.
Other Interesting Websites:
Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard:
LCV's mission is to advocate for sound environmental
policies and to elect pro-environmental candidates
who will adopt and implement such policies.
Since all three candidates for President are
senators, you can check their score on environmental
Founded by the
organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day
Network promotes environmental citizenship and year
round progressive action worldwide.
view of Lock Haven from Peter's Steps.
Note covered bridge at Jay Street.
Bob Myers (chair), Md. Khalequzzaman, Lenny Long, Jeff Walsh,
Danielle Tolton, John Crossen, Sandra Barney, David White, Tom
Ormond. The committee is charged with promoting and
supporting activities, experiences, and structures that
encourage students, faculty, and staff to develop a stronger
sense of place for Lock Haven University and central
Pennsylvania. Such a sense of place involves a stewardship
of natural resources (environmentalism), meaningful outdoor
experiences, and appreciation for the heritage of the region.