Month: January 2018

Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails Project Draft Decision Withdrawn

Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails Project Draft Decision Withdrawn

Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails Project Draft Decision Withdrawn

Warren, Pa. (January 26, 2018) – Allegheny National Forest Supervisor Sherry Tune announced today her decision to withdraw the July 27, 2017, draft Decision Notice for the Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails and Forest Plan Amendment Project.  The Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails Project proposed to convert a 12.5-mile section of the 34-mile trail system from hiking only to shared-use (open to bicycles and hikers).

In withdrawing the decision, Tune said “I understand the interest in re-vitalizing the Tracy Ridge Trail System and I greatly appreciate the offer from local mountain bike groups to assist the Forest with the maintenance of this system.  At this time, I feel the best course of action for the Forest is to place a pause on the project while we gather additional input and ideas from local user groups.”  In addition, Tune said that other priorities on the Forest have come to the forefront and have stretched Forest resources, “We are being asked to focus our efforts on timber volume and the number of acres treated as national priorities.” The Forest also faces threats in the form of insects and disease, with Supervisor Tune noting the importance of focusing staff time on these emerging forest health issues. Tune added that she plans to continue engaging local user groups on the maintenance needs and opportunities for shared use of the trail system, as well as how we move forward with the project in the future.

The Tracy Ridge area of the Allegheny National Forest is located approximately 15 miles west of Bradford, PA.  The area includes 34 miles of trail (including approximately 10 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail) and a campground.

Allegheny National Forest Open House

Allegheny National Forest Open House

Marienville, Pa. (January 25, 2018) – The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) will change operations at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area for the 2018 season and announced two open houses planned in early February to provide an opportunity for the public to discuss concerns and ideas regarding the future operations at Twin Lakes. 

The Forest will operate the day use facilities at Twin Lakes in 2018, but camping will not be available this year. According to Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon, “This is not a decision to close Twin Lakes, but for 2018 the ANF does not have the funding or means to address deficiencies with the wastewater treatment system that led to the early closure of the site in September 2017, or the lingering issues with other facilities that support camping at Twin Lakes. We recognize that Twin Lakes is an important recreation destination for local communities and we are committed to maintaining access to the site for day uses such as fishing, swimming, hiking and picnicking in 2018.”

Following a decade of reduced appropriated funding for recreation management, the ANF has seen another 12% reduction in recreation funding since 2015. This has not only affected the ability to address deferred maintenance for recreation facilities across the Forest, it has reduced the staff available to manage the recreation program. The ANF continues to operate developed recreation fee sites through a concessionaire permit, but this will not be an option for Twin Lakes in 2018.

Following the early closure of the Twin Lakes Recreation Area in September 2017, the concessionaire, Allegheny Site Management (ASM), determined that it could no longer operate this facility under the terms of their concession permit.  ASM elected to turn the facility back to the Forest Service to operate.

The ANF has not yet been allocated funds to maintain or repair recreation or administrative facilities for 2018, but decisions on the upcoming operating season cannot be postponed.  With limited staffing, the ANF can maintain public access to Twin Lakes for day use activities, but this will not include opening the main bathhouse.

The decision to forego camping at Twin Lakes in 2018 is not a decision to permanently close the facility. The Allegheny National Forest continues to assess future options for all recreation facilities through a Recreation Site Analysis.

Gathering public input from Twin Lakes’ users is essential to determining any future actions for this site. The Forest plans to hold two open house in February to provide the public with the opportunity to engage in conversation with ANF staff about their personal connections to Twin Lakes, the challenges with maintaining and operating the site, and potential options for operating this site in the future.

The open houses will be held at the Jones Township Community Building, 320 Faries Street in Wilcox, PA (Elk County). The dates are Thursday, February 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, February 10, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The public is encouraged to attend these open houses to provide direct feedback to the Forest Service.

Please note that there will be additional opportunities for public input to any proposals regarding future operations at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area.

For more information about operations at Twin Lakes for 2018, please contact the Marienville Ranger District at 814-927-6628.  For more information about the open houses, please contact Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon at 814-927-5799, or Jones Township Secretary Laurie Storrar at 814-929-5138 (2#).

Closure of ANF ATV/OHM Trails

Closure of ANF ATV/OHM Trails

Warm Temperatures and Rain Result in Closure of Allegheny National Forest ATV/OHM Trails

Warren, Pa. (January 24, 2018) – The Allegheny National Forest’s Timberline and Rocky Gap ATV/OHM trails have been closed due to current, above-freezing temperatures, passing rain showers, and unseasonably warm forecasts.

The ATV/OHM trails will remain closed until temperatures and/or trail conditions can support winter use. This includes sustained freezing temperatures, no evidence of damage to the trail surface, and/or no unsafe icing conditions. The Allegheny National Forest will evaluate ATV/OHM trail conditions weekly and will send out a media release and post information on the web when ATV/OHM trails access changes.  Please check access conditions prior to use by checking the website or calling any of the offices.

Allegheny National Forest snowmobile trails remain open, although current conditions are “poor to not usable” given the recent warm temperatures and rain that have depleted the trails’ snow base. For current snowmobile conditions, please view the snowmobile trail condition report at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/allegheny/alerts-notices/?aid=38348, or by calling any of the offices.

Please use caution when on any of the trails, as many are open for multiple uses and you may encounter vehicles, groomers, snowshoers, and skiers at any time.

For more information about recreational activities on the Allegheny National Forest:

2018 Eagle Cam

2018 Eagle Cam

The eagle cam is back in Hanover, PA! Enjoy online 24/7 access to watch the eagles nest! The nest being monitored will be the same nest as last year, laying 75 feet high in the air. The Eagle Cam is provided through a partnership among the Game Commission, HDOnTap, Comcast Business and Codorus State Park. To view the livestream, click here

Let’s Stay in Touch!

Warren County Visitors Bureau                dave@wcvb.net
22045 Route 6
Warren, PA 16365
814-726-1222
800-624-7802

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