Volume 4, Issue 6 (April 2011)
In This Issue...
"I go to Nature to be soothed and healed,
Pennsylvania Culture Festival
On Tuesday, April 12th, at 7:00 p.m., the musical ensemble Black Bear Crossing will perform traditional folk music. A wide variety of instrumentation allows the ensemble to explore many musical expressions. Their repertoire includes tunes found in the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, selections with an Eastern European flavor, as well as traditional and Old Timey American favorites. Musical styles include jigs, waltzes, aires, hambos, polkas, swing and traditional vocal. This concert was arranged by Melissa Becker and is sponsored by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (PUB MPR).
On Wednesday, April 13th, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. as part of the Stevenson Library Book Talks series, author Guy Graybill will discuss his book Prohibition's Prince: The Bizarre Life of America's Millionaire Moonshiner . Historian Graybill presents the entertaining tale of one of America's most prolific moonshiners and bootleggers, Prince David Farrington, who plied his trade through the early to mid 20th century. Graybill follows Farrington from his roots in Guilford County, North Carolina to Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, detailing the decades of illicit activity along the way. Farrington amassed a large fortune. His exploits remain legendary to this day. Relive the rollicking life of Prohibition's Prince, as Graybill presents numerous tales, legends, testimonials, news accounts, and still locations (Stevenson Library). For more information, contact the Book Talk Team: Rick Lilla, Brian Ardan, or Bernadette Heiney.
On Wednesday, April 13th, at 7:30 p.m. retired Sproul State Forester, Robert "Butch" Davey will deliver a talk"The State Forest System: Promise and Peril." This talk is sponsored by LHU's Environmental Club (Ulmer Planetarium). For more information, contact Bob Myers.
On Thursday, April 14th, at 5 p.m. Brad Daly, Director of the Recreation Center, will sponsor a kayak paddle on the Susquehanna River (meet at the Woodward Twp. Boat Launch on the other side of the river). For more information, contact Brad Daly.
On Friday, April 15th, at 2:00 p.m. the Environmental Focus Group will plant a tree on campus in honor of Arbor Day (location to be announced). Lenny Long is coordinating this event with Dave Proctor.
On Sunday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Biology Club will celebrate Earth Day on Russell Lawn (rain location--Rogers Gym). There will be displays, music, speakers, raffles, nature films, and activities for children (face painting, bird feeder making). Recreation Management students from Professor Jeff Walsh's Interpreting the Environment class will conduct interpretative nature walks on the campus. For more information, contact Biology Club advisor, Barry Overton.
During the week of April 11th through 16th, students in Professor Melinda Hodge's classes will present an art show. The show will include: 1) recycled art in the form of fashion accessories and utilitarian objects made by introductory level art survey classes; 2) art shirts made by faculty and student members of the "SaveYour Clothing" club and introductory level art survey classes; and 3) a textile and jewelry show featuring hand painted textiles (including leather), jewelry, and clothing by advanced level art students. There will be a silent auction of the art shirts (Stevenson Library). At the same time, Stevenson library will also host "Art of the Natural World: A Magnified Perspective" featuring groupings of three different photos that collectively show a closeup view of a variety of subject matter that in some way relates to nature. This show is a collaborative venture between professors in the Arts and the Sciences, which include Professor Melinda Hodge, Dr. Loretta Dickson, and Dr. Joe Calabrese. For more information, contact Melinda Hodge.
One of the best things about visiting sub-Saharan Africa is the opportunity to explore its many national parks and picturesque countryside. The day I went to Kakum National Park was a perfect day for a hike: overcast and low humidity.
After a three-hour ride from Legon, a suburb of the nation’s capital city Accra, the seven of us de-boarded the 13-passenger van and joined the more than 60-70 people waiting for their tour.
Having been warned by several locals about the park’s feature attraction, a hanging bridge that swings high from the trees, I knew what to expect, but wasn’t certain I’d be adventurous enough to give it a try.
Kakum National Park, located in the Central region of Ghana, is home to Africa’s only canopy walkway. At its highest point the bridge is suspended 12 stories above the ground, providing a bird’s eye view to the rainforest below and the local habitat. Early morning hikers can expect to find Diana monkeys and bongos among other species.
We arrived too late in the morning to see any wildlife, but just in time to join a small group about to begin a hike through the forest to the bridge.
The tour includes a guide with extensive knowledge of the forest and the history of the living habitat. Of special interest to me were the huge trees that sprinkled the forest floor. Over the centuries, the Akan people have used the trees for a variety of medicinal purposes. Trees and their branches are used to heal wounds, relieve stomach problems, fight infection, and to eliminate fever. We were told that the leaves of certain trees have been used in roof making, with the roof lasting up to five years.
Used as a drum, another tree serves
as a guide for someone lost in the forest.
The Kuntan tree is unusual in that much of its roots rise above the ground, making it a good place to take cover for the night. The huge tree that was identified during our tour was more than 200 years old and had above ground roots that spanned more than 10-feet high. Pairs of roots work to form triangular spaces, which can serve as sleeping areas and hiding places from an enemy.
Friends from a hike earlier that morning said that they saw a few monkeys and birds in the distance. However, I saw none. Not a seasoned hiker, I spent much of my walk focusing on the path ahead, as part of the trail was lined with stone pavers that were a bit slippery under the morning dew.
What I noticed most upon approaching the bridge at Kakum is how narrow it is: approximately two feet wide. In fact it’s not just a bridge it’s a series of bridges that I have since found is on several ‘most scariest bridges in the world’ lists. The seven bridges span over 1080 feet long and 130 feet high. The only things I saw while going across were the planks below me, the cables supporting me, and the observation point ahead.
The horseshoe-like pattern of the bridges is constructed of steel cables, netting and narrow wood planks, with a few in need of replacement. Had it not been for a young lady suggesting that I could “do it,” there’s a good chance I would have taken my leave from the hike after the first bridge.
The escape route is available only after the first bridge.
Observation points provide a good platform for taking photos and enjoying the view in Kakum. However, only five people at a time are allowed on the small porches. Despite carrying a special equipment bag with my camera and accessories, I only took a half dozen pictures. The bridge was so narrow that a camera around my neck and a bag hanging on my hip was a bit clumsy. I quickly put the camera in my bag and concentrated on getting across the bridge.
Each new person who enters the bridge causes it to sway. The sensation can be quit intimidating, I believe, even for seasoned adventurists. As I proceeded across the bridges I didn’t appear to be the only person intimidated. In fact, I noticed only two hikers who appeared to be fearless: two children, neither more than about seven years old. Frequent prayers and those two little children were what kept me focused enough to get to the other side of each new bridge.
After the bridges, we rejoined our tour guide who continued his description of the trees in the forest and seem eager to answer our questions. Enough adventure for me for one day. I was ready for lunch.
If you come to Ghana and plan to visit the slave castle in Cape Coast, you might want to go the short extra distance to Kakum National Park. But come early in the morning before for all the tourists chase away the wildlife and the only movement you’ll observe is the swaying of a hanging bridge high up in the air.
they filled the oriole’s elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
I suppose many non-birders know, in some nearly abstract way, that such things as warblers exist, but I doubt many have a good idea what one actually looks like, and I’ll wager most have never seen one in the wild and known it for what it was. That’s perfectly understandable, for reasons I’ll get to shortly, but it’s also sad because the warblers—or wood-warblers as they are more properly called—are simply some of the most beautiful, colorful birds you’ll ever get to see. I look forward to their return every April and make sure to devote a day for “warbling” as I like to call it (some prefer “warblering”), which for me is an all-day, leisurely stroll through the woods with a sandwich and binoculars, just gazing up at these stunning gems of the bird world. After six or eight hours of craning, my neck gets pretty stiff—birders call it “warbler neck”—but it’s definitely worth it.
So why do so few of us know about them? They are very small, for one thing, somewhere in the range of 4½-6” long and weighing half an ounce or less. They are also very active, tirelessly darting after the insects that make up the bulk of their diet. They generally won’t sit still for a good look. In addition, many of them spend their days either high up in the forest canopy or deep in thickets, so that once the leaves are fully out it’s almost impossible to find them unless you know their songs. As you might surmise, a good pair of binoculars is pretty much required, and that means even fewer of us have a chance to see them. So warblers aren’t the easiest birds to get to know, but they are definitely some of the most amazing.
There are about 112 species of warblers in the Americas, about 57 of which spend time in North America above Mexico. A couple dozen of them are quite common in Pennsylvania. Warblers have been studied extensively by ornithologists, which is nice because there’s no shortage of information if you want to learn about them. One of my warbler guides runs to 650 pages, and yes, I like warblers enough to sit down and read it for pleasure, especially at this time of year when I’m gearing up for warbler season. I also refresh my memory of their songs by listening to recordings. What can I say? Warblers are a big deal for birders.
In fact, twelve years ago when I actually started looking warblers were a kind of revelation for me. Suddenly, I saw them everywhere: the shocking black and orange of the Blackburnian male, the vibrant lemon-yellow and coal-black bill of the Prothonotary, the bold stripes of the Black-and-White—they all just took my breath away. I remember thinking: Where have these birds been all my life? Why haven’t I noticed them before?
Although many of the warblers aren’t great singers (by human standards anyway), I love their songs as well. My wife and I both get a big kick out of the “zoo zee zoo-zoo zee” of the Black-throated Green. It sounds like a bird with confidence and a swagger. And of course there’s the “teacher, teacher, teacher, TEACHER,” of the Ovenbird, each iteration getting louder and more adamant until, at close range, you’d swear the thing was about to smack you. Anyone who has spent time in Pennsylvania’s springtime woods has heard that one, by the way, whether they recognized it or not. Or how about the sweet, drawling whistle of the Common Yellowthroat: “wichity, wichity, wichity, wich,” the three syllables rising like the summer heat. In January I can close my eyes while listening to a recording of that one and be transported to the humid heat of the wet thickets the Yellowthroat prefers. Male warblers use all these songs to attract mates, of course, but also to stake out and defend their territories (imagine if humans had the wisdom to defend their borders by whistling tunes).
On top of their intricate beauties they are simply astonishing when it comes to their lifestyle. Those that breed in North America generally winter in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, so the migrations are epic for these tiny birds. In spring, many fly straight north across the Gulf of Mexico in an exhausting twelve-hour, nighttime flight. When they reach the Gulf coast they often “fallout” by the millions. Not surprisingly, birders come from everywhere to witness the spring migration.
After breeding they head south again, and the champion fall migrant is the Blackpoll, which may take a 2500 mile nonstop flight across the Atlantic to reach South America. But many warblers head south at a more leisurely pace, tripping down the latitudes and island-hopping to reach their winter homes. Nonetheless, there are still many challenges. One September morning while my wife and I were visiting downtown Chicago, we found an exhausted warbler at the foot of a skyscraper. It might have been a female Pine Warbler or maybe a first-year Blackpoll (because of a change in plumage, many warblers are hard to tell apart in the fall). Perhaps it spent the night crossing Lake Michigan and then happened upon the city, instead of some trees. Or maybe it hit a building in the darkness (this happens all the time—buildings, towers, and windmills all take a heavy toll on birds migrating at night). But the bird appeared unharmed. I think it was simply spent, and wouldn’t last the day without food. I picked it up and held it, a tiny, taut bird of the softest olive tones. It looked at me briefly, then closed its eyes. My wife and I discussed going back for the car and driving it out to the countryside, or at least a big city park, but I’m ashamed to report that I put it down again in a square yard of dirt at the base of a spindly locust tree. It was a goner.
Around here, one of my favorite warblers is the Ovenbird I mentioned earlier, which is very common and generally stays low to the ground in an open understory so it’s easy to see. It’s named for the nest it makes, built right on the ground and shaped like a little domed Dutch oven with a side entrance. A nest on the ground you say? What about predators? Well I have tried to find that nest a few times and have yet to succeed. There must be some trick to it.
Speaking of nests, most of the warblers are victims of nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird. The Cowbird lives in open country and builds no nest of its own, so it flies a short distance into the nearest woods until it finds a likely nest, then lays its egg there. The warblers, who never dealt with Cowbirds in centuries past, haven’t evolved defenses against the parasitism (some birds toss the Cowbird egg; others rebuild the nest on top of it) so they end up raising Cowbirds instead of Warblers. Forest fragmentation is the culprit here. When a big tract of woods is opened in some way, the Cowbirds gain access to the interior. All the songbirds fall victim, none moreso than the warblers.
Another favorite of mine is the Canada warbler, aka the “necklaced” warbler, which frequents rhododendron thickets alongside our streams. It’s a soft gray above, with a bright yellow breast across which dances a stark black necklace. Quite a stunner, and a pretty good singer as well, though I won’t try putting it into words. One of my guidebooks describes the song this way: “a sputtery descending jumble of high, clear, liquid notes mixed with sharp chips.” You’re better off just listening to that one. It sparkles like sunshine falling on the nearby streams, and I can’t wait to hear it again.
Tips for watching springtime warblers:
At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website you can see pictures, hear songs, and find out more information about warblers.
Plans are in process for the annual LHU Earth Day recycling event on Saturday, April 16. Colleen Meyer, in the Facilities Department, will be promoting the event to the University community. Colleen says, “Volunteers are always welcome," and she will be able to verify community service hours for students.
It’s a good time to start
accumulating the following items for recycling: cans (bi-metal and
aluminum); office paper (magazines, junk mail; newspaper); corrugated cardboard;
batteries; all electronics (computers, printers, televisions, VCR’s and DVD
players, stereos and cell phones); appliances; metal; used oil; tires; and laser and
inkjet cartridges. Bring them all to the Hursh-Nevel Building between 8 am and 3 pm.
Being truly green is often difficult, and contradictory, and overwhelming, and unpopular (depending where you live), and expensive. It’s hard to know where to look for solid, reliable information, but by consulting many blogs, books, magazines, etc., we’ve compiled a short list of steps that will aid you in becoming a sustainable, green person. Obviously some of them are more feasible for people in their careers while others are good for the college student. We've put the list in three easy stages, starting with the most basic and cheapest changes, and building to the most time-intensive and expensive changes.
Stage One: The Developing Environmentalist
Stage Two: The Dedicated Environmentalist
Stage Three: The Deep-Pocketed Environmentalist (this stage requires the most research so you can determine what is truly the most efficient for your home and yourself).
We would rank ourselves at stage two, with a long way to go to get to stage three.
Clinton County CleanScapes
This summer CCC is anticipating 4 West Branch Susquehanna River cleanup events: two in Clinton County and two in Lycoming County. For more information, visit the CCC website.
One of my favorite drives in Pennsylvania takes me up and down the twisted highways in between Lock Haven and Altoona. After zoning out on Interstate-80 and Route 220, I usually perk my head up and start taking in the deep valleys and rolling mountains that slowly climb until hitting the Allegheny Plateau. Just after Altoona, I hop onto Route 22 for about fifteen miles until I take Route 422 all the way to Indiana (or, as I like to say, the land of Jimmy Stewart monuments). My favorite sites on this road are the wind farms.
From a young age, I’ve always had a fascination with the big wind turbines. In fact, I remember seeing the 1.5 Mw wind turbines first go up in 2001 as my parents drove through Somerset on their way to see our family in New Castle. The blades spun around and around—almost like the mountains had hands that waved the way a friend waves after a long separation: always in big, arching strokes that excitedly move from side to side. Now I experience pleasure as an adult in seeing the potential that wind technology holds for a consumer culture enslaved to oil and natural gas.
But I’m not satisfied with our progress in switching to alternative
energy. America’s demand for wind
technology has yet to develop. The installed
capacity of domestic wind power only equals 40,000 megawatts—a mere 3 percent
of electricity on the grid. There have been efforts to improve that percentage. Section 48C of
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave 2.3 billion dollars of tax
credit to domestic manufacturers who supplied clean energy.
But consumers have resisted the higher prices for this green energy. NSTAR Electric in Massachusetts
uses electricity from wind farms in upstate New York
but on March 1st, 2011, the company was forced to add a premium for
customers who received fifty to one hundred percent of their electricity from
the wind farms.
Since large-scale wind farms have yet to provide
a significant impact, there’s another option in using wind: the domestic wind
turbine. A 3.5 Kw wind turbine provides
enough energy for the average household—and while there are bigger turbines
which allow a homeowner to sell greater amounts of electricity back to the
grid—the 3.5 Kw works just fine. New
models of domestic turbines require little wind, but if you live in area with
higher wind speeds, the results increase dramatically. A small-scale turbine stands
about fifty to sixty feet tall, produces nearly no sound, and requires
basically no maintenance. All the while,
the turbine produces enough energy to heat your home and water, power all your
appliances and lights, and even provide excess energy that is easily stored in
batteries. While the price of these turbines runs about 15,000
dollars, many companies that produce small-scale turbines
provide financing plans. After an initial investment of several thousand dollars, the cost
can easily be paid off within a couple of years.
I remain optimistic when thinking about
the direction of wind technology because—according to the Department of Energy—America's accessible wind resources total 12
times the current electricity consumption of the United States. Parts of these accessible wind resources
include our very own backyards.
March 6th 1765 dawned snowy and cold. James Smith and ten Black-Boys (so called because they painted their faces black to avoid identification) waited for George Croghan’s eighty-one horse pack train in this early spring snow storm. Croghan’s pack train carried legal goods belonging to Col. Henry Bouquet, who hoped to use these presents to conclude a treaty with the Shawnee Indians.
However, this pack train also carried sixty three horse loads of tomahawks, scalping knives, gun powder and lead. These articles were still illegal because no formal peace treaty had been signed ending Pontiac’s War.
Smith and his men believed that these goods would rearm the Indians and enable them to renew the almost constant state of war which had existed since 1756. The massacre of Schoolmaster Enoch Brown and ten school children was still fresh in the minds of these men as they waited in the snow.
At approximately 1 pm the pack train finally reached Smith and his men near the summit of Sideling Hill. From their concealed places the men fired two volleys killing four horses but purposely avoided killing any of the drivers who were then ordered to take their possessions and leave. Smith’s men then destroyed the illegal goods. Thus begins what historian Patrick Griffin author of American Leviathan refers to as “the beginning of the end of British Rule in the American Colonies.”
If you have never heard of the Sideling Hill affair you are not alone. While James Smith and his cousin Justice William Smith lit the spark that ultimately would create our nation, they also had no one named Jefferson, Adams, Hancock or Washington leading them. Thus we learn that a Tea Party in Boston and not a rebellion on the Pennsylvania frontier was the spark of Revolution.
Smith’s Rebellion in 1765 was the first armed resistance against British military authority in the American colonies. The Smiths and their cohorts drove the Royal Highland Regiment out of Fort Loudoun. By the end of the nine month rebellion, Justice William Smith, concluded they could govern themselves. It is this last belief that gives form to the idea of a new and independent nation. William Smith based his ideas of rebellion on John Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Government written in 1690. Here, Locke took the ideas of John Calvin regarding the right of individual conscience and put mens’ souls into a secular and political framework. If men had the right to interpret God for themselves, surely they had a right to be involved in the daily decisions that impacted their lives.
Smith’s Rebellion was predicated on the idea that government was a contract between all men to reject some of their natural rights in favor of a frame work that would secure each man’s rights to live, liberty and property. The breach of contract clause was that if government failed in its duty to protect each man’s right to life, liberty and property the contract would then be null and void and government could be replaced by force if necessary.
This argument was Justice William Smith’s defense of Sideling Hill before Govenor John Penn on July 30th 1765. It is the same breach of contract language contained in our Declaration of Independence.
If you fast forward to today, the issues that animated James and William Smith stemming from the Sideling Hill affair are the same issues that animate protesters in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. John Locke’s contract theory of government is the ancestor of today’s defense of the rights of each man to collectively bargain. If government was constituted to provide for each person’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness then all men would have the right to a say in the decisions that affect their lives. That was true of the illegal trade in tomahawks, scalping knives, gun powder and lead and it is true of our right to a fair wage, to retire in dignity and to a safe work place. What began as a simple act of self-defense became the spark that created a nation.
Oh, April! T.S. Elliot was dead right when he said that April is the cruelest month, for no other month has such a precarious balance of expectation as this one. April is the gateway into spring, the awakening of the vegetable gods and the start of baseball. However, she can be cruel mistress as well, blessing the landscape with a blizzard as easily as a perfect day. It doesn't matter though, for even the worst rain-drenched April brings the promise of summer right around the corner with it, and if the foul weather holds off it can be one of the finest months for hiking. Unless you are one of the hardy all-year outdoor fanatics, April is probably the first time it is actually nice enough to go on a hike longer than a couple of hours. If you have time in between frantically writing all of those papers you have been putting off for the last few months, you should consider hiking of the best day trails that I know of, the famed Golden Eagle Trail.
The Golden Eagle Trail is the queen of one day hikes in central Pennsylvania, a ten-mile loop that features some of the best views in the area--and it is a real challenge to boot. You are going to want a good pair of sturdy, well-broken in boots for this endavour, along with plenty of water and a couple of apples to keep you going. Depending on what time of year you attempt to do this the trail, it will have a completely different character: spring is the optimum time, preferably after the water has gone down a little, but fall is good as well. Summertime, while offering ample opportunities to forage on countless blueberry and huckleberry bushes, transforms the trail into a stroll through Satan's garden thanks to hundreds of Stinging Nettle plants and mosquitoes. I would highly recommend taking some sort of insect repellent to keep ticks at bay, for I found a couple crawling on me already this season and they will grow much worse in the coming weeks.
There are a couple of ways to get to the Golden Eagle Trail, the entrance to which lies just about a mile south of Slate Run on Route 414 in the Pine Creek Valley area. If you are coming from Lock Haven and are with someone who knows the roads it would probably be faster to take the Coudersport Pike north until it intersects with Route 44 at Haneyville, whereby you would then cross over to 414 and head north around 11 miles or so until you come to Clark Farm/Uticer Station. There you would park to acess the trailhead across the road. Alternatively, you could get on 220 heading east until you come to the Pine Creek Exit and then head north on 414 for around twenty miles until you arrive at Clark Farm, whichever you would prefer. Either way beware of the numerous gas trucks who do not know what a yellow line is for, and for the fools who will pass you going 80 on a double line around a blind turn.
When you finally make it to the parking area at Clark Farm, put on your gear and head across the bridge and enter the trailhead which is marked with a sign and yellow blazes. This is an extremely well-worn and marked trail, so you should have no trouble at all finding your way. Follow the run for around a quarter of a mile until you come to a branch in the path designated by a tree with orange markings. At this point you will have to decide which way to go around the loop: personally, I prefer to head to the right (counter-clockwise) and get the hardest section of the trail over first, but the choice is yours. Assuming you are doing the trail counter-clockwise, head up and to the right through a nice pine-meadow and prepare yourself for an arduous ascent. The next half mile is a battle up Jeep trails and a very steep and narrow path that will make you wish for death before it is over. My friends and I call this section of the trail Hamburger Hill for a good reason, but persevere--the view is more than the worth it. At the top of this mountain lies the Raven's Horn, a jutting slab of naked rock that soars out from the mountain and allows those hardy enough to reach it an unparalled view of the sweeping forested valley below. The word "awesome" gets thrown around a lot these days, but it more than applies to the feeling of sitting on the Horn, feet dangling over the side and munching on a crisp apple. Make sure you backtrack a little and follow the somewhat innocuous path that branches off towards the left, as it leads to another picturesque rock that affords good view of Wolf Run and its environs.
After you have drunk your fill of the view, get back on the path which leads downward and to your right. The next section winds through some nice rock formations and then makes a relaxing descent down the back of the mountain. After around half a mile of going down you will be following the concourse of the run for around two and a half miles. Depending on what time of year you get there, you will either find a picturesque, coolly flowing mountain run; a roaring beast that angrily chafes its banks and is a nightmare to cross; or a valley filled with Stinging Nettle and dotted with stagnant Mosquito pools. Hope for A, as you will be mighty sick of walking in runs before this day is passed. Keep your eyes peeled for traces of the old slate quarrying operation in the area as you go, as well as an old pot-bellied stove that some poor mule had to bring in on his back for some cold loggers. After a very long time you will come into a large stand of hemlock and pine trees and lose the run. At this point you will begin gradually going uphill again, but the grade is nothing at all compared to what you have faced earlier. By this point fatigue may have begun to rear its ugly head, but hang in there! After a mile or so of winding your way through the woods and up a few hills, you will suddenly find yourself on another wide Jeep trail. Follow it and you will come to the Beulahland Vista, which while not quite as good as the Raven's Horn is still pretty picturesque.
When you are ready to leave, follow the Jeep trail as it begins to descend down the hill and keep your eye out for a sign off to the left of the trail. When you find it, follow the little path off into the woods, which will lead you to a very steep and rocky descent down to Bonnell Run. This next section is basically a repeat of your walk along Wolf Run, and while very tranquil when it is not a hellish field of stings. After what seems like an eternity, the trail will start ascending up to your left, and lo and behold you will find yourself walking on the same path that brought you in. Keep going for a quarter mile or so and you will be back at the trailhead and the comfortable mercy of your car. Next, drive all the way back to Jersey Shore and go to the Number 1 Chinese Restaurant on Allegheny Street for some twice-cooked chicken and a Dr. Pepper--the best Szechuan in the county!
Beech Creek Watershed Events
April 23 th Annual Watershed Cleanup. Volunteers needed to cleanup railgrade between Monument and Orviston Several Enthusiastic and energetic people are needed to help cleanup a large site at the Breon Farm in Romola. Contact Jamie Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details by April 16th. With great support from Wayne Township Landfill and our volunteers we have been able to remove more than ~40 tons of debris from the watershed in the last 3 years!
Saturday April 30 th. Tree planting in Sproul State Forest. Our annual effort coordinated by Butch Davey has helped to reforest many acres in the watershed. Contact Jamie Walker (email@example.com) for details by April 21st.
Friday May 20th – Trout Unlimited/BCWA/Mount Nittany Middle School Watershed Field Day – BCWA has collaborated with Trout Unlimited and Mount Nittany Middle School teacher Joe Walker (LHU Alum)to develop a field day in the watershed to expose 7th and 8th grade students to impacts of resource extraction in the Beech Creek watershed. Three sites will be visited including the Jonathan Run acid mine drainage(AMD) treatement system construction site, acid mine drainage(AMD) impacted section of the North Fork of Beech Creek and the Three Points Sportsmen Cooperative Trout Nursery on Little Sandy Run, an unimpacted tributary to the North Fork of Beech Creek. A few “field guides” are needed to help students collect and assess water quality and macrobenthic samples. If you are interested in helping that day please contact Jamie Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Saturday July 16 th – Third Annual Bricktown Challenge Canoe and Kayak Race at the Bald Eagle State Park. Racing (~7 miles)and Recreational Classes (~4 miles). Recreational class involves a poker run with the grand prize being a new kayak. Watch the Beech Creek Watershed Website (http://beechcreekwatershed.com/bricktown.html) for 2011 race details and updates. This year we are hosting the PACK (Pennsylvania Association of Canoers and Kayakers) Championship. Proceeds from the event will be used for construction of the Bricktown Trail a proposed 24 mile rail connecting the bricktowns of Orviston, Monument, Beech Creek, Howard, and the Curtin Village Historic Site near Milesburg, PA. The trail will follow abandoned railgrades, old sections of rte 120, and the shoreline of Fosters Joseph Sayers Lake. More details on the BCWA website.