BALD EAGLE STATE FOREST
The Bald Eagle State Forest hosts all the major game species typically found in Pennsylvania, including deer, bear, wild turkey and other small game.
There are thirteen streams within the Bald Eagle District totaling 47 miles that are stocked and fishable. Particularly noteworthy are Penns Creek and Fishing Creek. Along the Mifflin County section of Penns Creek the Pennsylvania Fish Commission has established a "catch and release" stretch of stream where year-round trout fishing is permitted. Near Fishing Creek and the village of Lamar in Clinton County the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a fish hatchery for stocking the surrounding area.
Driving and walking for pleasure is a major outdoor recreational use of the forest. The District has 340 miles of drivable roads and about the same number of miles of trails. There are five designated scenic drives.
The Mid-State Trail traverses the District running northeast from the Route 322 roadside rest at the Centre-Mifflin county line, through R. B. Winter State Park to the village of McElhattan, southeast of Lock Haven in Clinton County.
There are 27 vistas within the Bald Eagle State Forest. They offer the forest user many and varied views of both the State owned and private land within and surrounding the District.
Bald Eagle State Forest is located in central Pennsylvania and has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. Here is an overview of the history of Bald Eagle State Forest:
- The forest was established in 1933 when the Pennsylvania Game Commission transferred approximately 11,000 acres of land to the Department of Forests and Waters (now the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) for the purpose of forest management and recreational use.
- The area was heavily logged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, resulting in extensive deforestation. The state acquired lands that were abandoned and devastated by logging companies to initiate reforestation efforts. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program, played a significant role in the reforestation, as they planted trees, built roads, trails, and recreational facilities, and implemented erosion control measures throughout the forest.
- One of the notable features of the forest is the Bald Eagle Mountain, which stands prominently in the area. The mountain is named after the bald eagles that were once commonly seen in the region. These majestic birds played a significant role in the local Native American cultures, and their presence is still celebrated today.
- Throughout the years, the forest has been managed for various purposes, including timber production, outdoor recreation, and wildlife habitat enhancement. Today, it covers approximately 193,424 acres and offers a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, birdwatching, and more.
- The forest also includes the popular Bald Eagle State Park, which is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The park surrounds the 1,730-acre Bald Eagle Lake and offers amenities like boating, swimming, picnicking, camping, and a variety of recreational opportunities.
- In recent years, Bald Eagle State Forest has faced several challenges, including invasive species, wildfires, and natural resource management concerns. However, ongoing efforts are being made to preserve and restore the forest's ecological integrity, while providing sustainable recreational opportunities for the public.
Bald Eagle State Forest stands as a testament to the importance of conservation and the resilience of nature in Pennsylvania, offering a natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a reminder of the region's vibrant history.
1. Poe Paddy State Park: This park is located at the confluence of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek, a Pennsylvania Scenic River. The campsites are rustic with picnic tables and fire rings.
2. Raymond B Winter State Park: Offers several camping options including tent sites, RV spots, cabins for rent as well as yurts.
3. Bald Eagle Forest District Campsites: There are numerous primitive campgrounds scattered throughout the forest that offer basic amenities such as pit toilets and hand-pumped water wells.
4. Reeds Gap State Park: It has 14 wooded family campsites each equipped with a picnic table & fireplace; drinking water available nearby in season
5.Ravensburg state park : offers many recreational opportunities on its nearly 78 acres like hiking trails , fishing etc alongwith Camping facilities
6.Bald eagle island campground - Located near Howard PA this place provides great views over Foster Joseph Sayers Lake . They have both Tenting area's to full hook up rv site .
7.Susquehanna riverlands- A beautiful location right next to Susquehanna river providing various outdoor activities along side camping option.
8.Poe Valley state park - Situated within bald eagle state forest it features an ADA accessible modern cabin which can be rented year round .
9.Hemlock hideaway campground- Just outside of bald eagle they provide Cabin rentals,RV Sites,Tent Sites
10.Little Mexico Campground Inc.- Provides Full Hook-Up RV Site (30/50 amp), Water/Electric Only RV Site(20/30amp)and Primitive/Tenting Area