SUSQUEHANNOCK STATE FOREST
SUSQUEHANNOCK STATE FOREST
Susquehannock State Forest, located in northern Pennsylvania, is a pristine natural oasis that spans over 265,000 acres. Its diverse landscape, encompassing mountains, valleys, and sprawling forests, offers breathtaking views and a rich biodiversity. The forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, providing a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. With miles of well-maintained trails, including part of the iconic Mid State Trail, visitors can explore the forest's hidden gems, discover picturesque waterfalls, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature. Susquehannock State Forest is not just a recreational paradise but also a crucial habitat for numerous wildlife species, making it a vital conservation area and a true gem of Pennsylvania's natural heritage.
Susquehannock State Forest, located in north-central Pennsylvania, has a rich history that dates back centuries.
Before European settlement, the land now encompassed by Susquehannock State Forest was inhabited by the Susquehannock Native American tribe. The Susquehannocks were a powerful confederacy of Native Americans who lived along the Susquehanna River. They hunted, fished, and cultivated the fertile land throughout the region, including the area that is now the forest.
In the early 18th century, European settlers began arriving in the area. They cleared land for agriculture and developed small communities. Over time, however, the land became less suitable for farming due to soil erosion and other challenges, leading to the abandonment of many farms.
In the 20th century, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized the need for forested land to safeguard watersheds, protect wildlife habitats, and provide recreational opportunities. In 1901, the state purchased its first tract of land in what would become Susquehannock State Forest. Over the years, additional land acquisitions expanded the forest's boundaries.
During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was active in Susquehannock State Forest. The camps established by the CCC provided jobs for unemployed young men and contributed to the development of recreational facilities, such as picnic areas, campgrounds, and miles of trails. Some of these CCC-built structures and infrastructure still exist and are used today.
The forest's primary purpose was to manage the timber resources present in the area. The large tracts of forestland were carefully managed through selective timber harvesting to sustainably utilize the resources while also supporting wildlife populations.
Susquehannock State Forest spans over 265,000 acres and is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. It offers a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. The forest's diverse ecosystems provide essential habitat for various species of plants and animals, and it is highly valued for its natural beauty and ecological significance.
Hiking and Camping
Hiking is available on many trails in the Susquehannock State Forest, though the main trail is the Susquehannock Trail System, an 85-mile loop through the forested hills and valleys of the region. It was created by joining together a number of old and new foot trails, logging roads and abandoned railroad grades. The trail originates at the district office along Route 6 in Potter County and extends south into Clinton County. The route is well-marked with rectangular orange blazes and is mostly comfortable walking with a few steep grades.