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DCNR Ecological Restoration Efforts Aim to Preserve Historic Camp Michaux in Cumberland County

10/05/2022

​Newville, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today visited historic Camp Michaux in Cumberland County to view ecological restoration efforts to mitigate damage caused by invasive, non-native plants.

“Our natural spaces are full of important history and we must preserve sites like Camp Michaux to ensure the knowledge and lessons of the past are not lost,” Dunn said. “I am grateful to the Michaux State Forest staff for prioritizing the restoration efforts at the camp to ensure future visitation and education, particularly because of the connection to conservation linked to the camp.”

Camp Michaux, a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (CCC) and abandoned World War II Prisoner of War Interrogation Camp in Michaux State Forest, has been heavily invaded by non-native plant species over many decades, harming the natural landscape and obscuring historical features.

The threat of invasive, non-native plant species is expected to worsen throughout Pennsylvania as the climate warms.

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is addressing this threat at the Camp Michaux site by transforming the area into a healthy landscape of diverse native plant species.

Plants that provide pollinator habitat and trees that are expected to survive a warmer, wetter climate were planted on site in 2021 and 2022.

The health of the planted trees will be monitored over time by the Bureau of Forestry to learn which species are best suited to the changing climate.

“Prior to the restoration, Camp Michaux was overrun with a number of invasive, non-native plant species that aggressively hindered the native ecosystem,” State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger said. “We were able to plant 40 native tree and shrub species, and more than 9,000 plant plugs of about 20 species to restore the ecosystem and protect this area for years to come. Thank you to the staff and our partners for their continued efforts to preserve Camp Michaux, as this work requires careful monitoring and a long-term commitment to ensure the success of these efforts.”

Camp Michaux is also linked to the iron industry in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries when the area was a working farm known as Bunker Hill Farm.

It later became a church camp after its stint as a WWII interrogation camp.

The DCNR Camp Michaux Learning Landscapes Initiative at Michaux State Forest has been supported by many community partners over the past decade, including the Cumberland County Historical Society and South Mountain Partnership, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Fish and Wildlife Federation, American Rivers Conservancy, Friends of Michaux State Forest, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Conococheague Chapter of the Audubon Society, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, Market Square Presbyterian Church, Bass Pro Shop, and many individual volunteers and donor organizations that have sponsored tree and wildflower planting efforts on the site.

Visit DCNR’s website for more information about the Michaux State Forest.

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

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