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DCNR Celebrates Induction of the Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area into the Old-Growth Forest Network


Beavertown, PA -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today celebrated the induction of the Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area in Bald Eagle State Forest into the Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN).

“I am pleased to have this designation bestowed on Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area and 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. “These designations continue to serve as a model for conservation as we continue to preserve natural spaces and look for solutions to our global climate crisis.”

Containing old growth white pine, hemlock, and pitch pine, the 500-acre tract is located west of Troxelville in Spring Township, Snyder County.

The existing old growth was saved from the loggers’ saws in 1902 when a 14,000-acre tract was purchased by the Commonwealth and a stop-cutting order was issued.

Both Swift Run Trail and Tower Trail provide good access to the old-growth areas of the forest, both starting at the Snyder-Middleswarth State Forest Picnic Area along Swift Run Road.

In his first budget address, Governor Josh Shapiro referenced Article I, Section 27 of the Commonwealth’s Constitution, which states that every Pennsylvanian has a right to clean air and pure water. Forests are critical for capturing carbon from the air and purifying our rivers and streams.

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 Snyder-Middleswarth 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 natural area is named for two Pennsylvania politicians from Snyder County: Simon Snyder and Ner Alexander Middleswarth. Snyder (1759-1819) was a three-time Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the third governor of Pennsylvania.

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 leading the nation in the quantity of old-growth forests dedicated to the Network. With 27 forests now in the national old-growth network, Pennsylvania shows its commitment to the preservation of old-growth forest within its boundaries,” said Brian Kane, outreach coordinator and mid-Atlantic regional manager with the Old-Growth Forest Network. “The DCNR has shown remarkable support for the protection of these valuable national resources.”

Founded in 2012 by Dr. Joan Maloof, the network currently has over 185 forests in the Network across 32 states. Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area joins 26 other Pennsylvania forests already in the Network.

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.

Bald Eagle State Forest, named for the famous Native American Chief, Bald Eagle, includes 194,602 acres in Snyder, Union, Centre, Mifflin and Clinton counties. The forest is located on the lands of the Susquehannock peoples, who inhabited this region for several centuries before European settlement.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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