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DCNR Celebrates Induction of Forrest H. Dutlinger Natural Area in Susquehannock State Forest into the Old-Growth Forest Network

05/14/2024

​Cross Fork, PA -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today celebrated the induction of the Forrest H. Dutlinger Natural Area in Susquehannock State Forest into the Old-Growth Forest Network.

“This honor helps highlight the rich history in the Susquehannock State Forest and we always appreciate the support of the Old-Growth Forest Network in honoring the history and heritage in the many old-growth forest areas across Pennsylvania,” Dunn said. “Designations like this serve as a model for conservation as we continue to preserve natural spaces and look for solutions to our global climate crisis.”

The Forrest H. Dutlinger Natural Area includes a 158-acre old-growth forest of Eastern hemlock, American beech, black cherry, sugar maple, and northern red oak.

This 1,521-acre tract is surrounded by the 30,000-acre Hammersley Wild Area that straddles two counties.

The old growth area boasts several Eastern hemlocks over 52 inches in diameter and some trees are believed to be nearly 400 years old.

The Natural Area is also an important national reptile and amphibian protection area.

All forests are important to a healthy ecosystem; however, old-growth forests are especially important because of their unique structure.

Old-growth forests retain more carbon and nitrogen than in forests of other age classes; and are superior for improving water and air quality.

Visit DCNR’s website to learn more about old-growth forests.

Hemlock is a major component of the old-growth forest in areas like the Dutlinger Natural Area.

The loss of many old-growth hemlocks, mostly due to the invasive hemlock wooly adelgid, has resulted in increased light to the forest floor in recent years.

The Old-Growth Forest Network connects people with nature by creating a national network of protected, mature, publicly accessible, native forests.

The organization intends to preserve at least one forest in every county in the U.S. that can sustain a forest.

The Old-Growth Forest Network works to identify forests for the Network, ensure their protection from logging, and inform people of the forest locations.

“Pennsylvania is a leader in the quantity of old-growth forests dedicated to the Network,” said Brian Kane, outreach coordinator and mid-Atlantic regional manager with the Old-Growth Forest Network. “With 31 Pennsylvania forests now in the national old-growth network, the Commonwealth shows its commitment to the preservation of old-growth forests, within its boundaries. The inclusion of Forrest H. Dutlinger shows how the DCNR continues its support for the protection of these valuable national resources.”

Kane noted the support of volunteer county coordinators who help with forest identification and observations, pointing to DCNR staff who helped with the Dutlinger Natural Area.

Founded in 2012 by Dr. Joan Maloof, the network currently has over 185 forests in the Network across 32 states.

The Old-Growth Forest Network also recognizes exceptional forest advocates, educates about the extraordinary ecological benefits of old-growth forests, and speaks out regarding immediate threats to specific ancient forests.

Learn more at the Old-Growth Forest Network website.

The Dutlinger Natural Area is in Susquehannock State Forest, which derives its name from the Susquehannock tribe that once inhabited the region.

It comprises 265,000 acres in Potter, Clinton, and McKean counties.

The forest grows some of the most productive stands of black cherry trees in the world, and is one of eight state forests located in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Visit DCNR’s website for more information about Susquehannock State Forest and check DCNR’s Calendar of Events​ for happenings on public lands.

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

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