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DCNR Highlights Importance of Investment in Trails, Celebrates Plans for 53 New Miles of Trail in Rothrock State Forest

03/28/2024

​Pine Grove Mills, PA -- Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn visited Rothrock State Forest to highlight plans for more than 50 miles of multiuse, single-track trails as an example of the type of work that will be expanded as a result of Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal.

Construction will soon begin on 53 miles of new sustainable biking, hiking, and equestrian trails on a loop system across Rothrock State Forest.

The initial 7.5 miles of construction is currently underway thanks to partnerships with the Rothrock Trail Alliance (RTA), ClearWater Conservancy, local governments, Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, and other private supporters.

“Trails allow people to enjoy the outdoors, and they are the backbone of Pennsylvania’s $17 billion outdoor recreation economy -- but building and sustaining trails is challenging work that requires significant investment and partnerships,” Dunn said. “Thank you to all of the partners who see the health and economic benefits of supporting this work. We hope to do more of it across the Commonwealth with the funding outlined in Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget.”

Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal includes another strong investment in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, with $8.5 million new funding to build trails and $5 million to expand the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program.

The Musser Gap Trail is set for 7.5 miles of new trail, which will connect the Musser Gap Trailhead to Shingletown Road.

The next segment, currently seeking funding, will then continue from Hubler Gap and connect users to the Whipple Dam State Park.

DCNR has invested $1.9 million in land acquisitions, trail development, and extension of the Musser Gap Trail.

“We are grateful for DCNR for opening the pathway for third party groups to build trails within state forest,” said Jay Ziegler, RTA board chair. “We are excited to have pioneered this agreement to have the opportunity to collaborate and improve trails for our local Rothrock State Forest. We are hopeful that the partnerships here can be a model for other trail systems across the Commonwealth.”

The new trail will support hikers, cyclists, trail runners, and equestrian riders and connect to hundreds of existing miles of trails in the forest.

“Trails support the health of Centre County residents and bring in people from all over, providing a boost to our economy,” Centre County Board of Commissioners Chair Mark Higgins said. “We are proud to support the development of this trail system and look forward to seeing old and new visitors in the county.”

Rothrock Trail Alliance is seeking volunteers to assist in a variety of ways, including trail finish work, website maintenance, social media, capital campaign support, membership tracking, communications, and more.

“Rothrock State Forest is full of so much natural beauty, and this new trail system will expand Penn State students’ access to incredible outdoor educational and recreational resources,” said Mike Toolan, Musser Gap Conservation Director for Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. “I am excited to see state and local partners working hard to connect the community to our unique natural spaces. With their help, we will continue to further the University’s land-grant mission by connecting people to nature and encouraging them to act as environmental stewards.”

Rothrock State Forest is named for Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock, a native of Mifflin County and the Commonwealth’s first forestry commissioner.

He is recognized as the “Father of Forestry” in Pennsylvania.

Rothrock State Forest comprises 96,975 acres that spread across the rugged ridges Huntingdon, Centre, and Mifflin counties.

Visit DCNR’s website for more information on Rothrock State Forest and check out DCNR’s Calendar of Events​ for events on public lands.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson​, 717-877-6315

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