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DCNR Celebrates Induction of Boyd Big Tree in Dauphin County into the Old-Growth Forest Network

04/26/2022

Lower Paxton Township, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today visited Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area in Dauphin County to celebrate its forest heritage and to induct it into the Old-Growth Forest Network.

“It’s hard to describe the sense of awe that comes from taking a walk among ancient, old-growth trees,” Dunn said. “This designation reminds all Pennsylvanians of the forest heritage of Penn’s Woods and spotlights the unique and exciting opportunities that are offered for outdoor recreation and experiencing nature in their state parks and forests.”

Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area is located on the lands of the Susquehannock peoples, who inhabited the region near the Susquehanna River for several centuries before European settlement.

The old-growth area in the preserve is estimated between 75 and 80 acres and is located in a small valley on the western boundary of the conservation area. Ten tree species occur there, including red and white oaks, tulip poplar, beech, hickory, and maple, and understory that includes hemlock, sassafras, mountain maple, striped maple, birch, and witch hazel. The estimated age of several oaks is 120 years.

Substantial ground level moisture exists at Boyd Big Tree, with at least two narrow creeks present in the woods. In the spring, mosses, club moss, princess pine, and ferns appear on the trail’s lower elevations. There is a notable range of fungi and mushrooms.

The Old-Growth Forest Network is a national organization working to preserve ancient forests for the enjoyment of present and future generations. In counties capable of supporting forest growth, the network identifies at least one forest that will be protected from logging and open to the public.

“We look forward to adding more forests to the Network in the future,” said founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network Joan Maloof. “We depend on a volunteer in each county to help us identify candidate forests. Jen Hirt, Dauphin County Coordinator for the Old-Growth Forest Network, has been an invaluable volunteer supporter. In addition to creating a network of forests, we are also creating a network of people who care about forests."

Boyd Big Tree joins 20 other Pennsylvania forests already in the network.

Alexander Boyd (1925-2013) was president of the Union Deposit Corp. He donated land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September 1999. The stated purpose of the donation was to set aside the area for the perpetual management and protection of big trees.

Find out more about Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area on DCNR’s website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak, 717-579-5177

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