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Announcing the Walk in Penn’s Woods

The new informal partnership for Penn’s Woods, Working for You, announces a statewide Walk in Penn’s Woods on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Rural, urban and suburban woods, state and national forests and parks, municipal watersheds, conserved areas, private lands and industry in the state’s 67 counties will hold open houses and guided woods walks showcasing the multiple values and diverse uses of our state’s priceless forest resources.

As the fall season arrives this year, the first Sunday in October will feature mentored woods walks all across the state, providing entrée to woodlands, along with easy access to expert forest and wildlife professionals. Some individual Walks in Penn’s Woods may also schedule children’s activities, showcase management for wildlife or watersheds, exhibit the results of harvesting or planting, demonstrate the results of urban tree cover, showcase riparian buffers or reveal the fascinating innards of a local sawmill.  You can find information about each individual event on the Walk in Penn’s Woods website.

The partnership coordinating these events includes the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, Penn State Center for Private Forests, Penn State Natural Resources Extension, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Forest Stewards, and the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative. These partners, along with a number of additional supporters, are working energetically to fashion a group of diverse, informative, and exciting events to entice individuals, families, friends and neighbors, out into Penn’s Woods for an enjoyable learning experience.

Pennsylvania literally means Penn’s Woods. A grant from King Charles II to William Penn in March 1681 established the colony; Sylvania is a Latin word that means “forest land.” Penn recognized the value of his Pennsylvania forests and included in his 1681 Concessions to the Province an order to leave one acre of trees for every five acres of land cleared.

After Penn’s death, settlers generally disregarded his edict and by 1907 had reduced the original forest from 27 million acres to less than nine million.  But over the last century, Pennsylvania has regained much of its historic forest land, reaching approximately 17 million acres during the last two decades. This is the largest amount of forest to stand in Pennsylvania since it became a state and it includes some of the most intact and bountiful hardwood forest lands in the temperate world.

Penn’s Woods is one of the state’s prized Crown Jewels. Not only does it provide a spectacular and significant timber resource, but it provides incalculable value as a water resource, pollution filter, carbon store, wildlife habitat and biodiversity reserve, urban refuge, and a priceless source of recreational and aesthetic enjoyment. It is also a resource challenged by invasive plants and diseases, climate change, mismanagement, development pressure, and legacy issues.

The Partnership for Penn’s Woods invites all Pennsylvanians to learn about the many ways that Penn’s Woods Works for all of us on October 1st by participating in one of the mentored walks and events across the state, by downloading additional information about the resource, or even by documenting and sharing your own learning adventure in our woodlands on the Walk in Penn’s Woods website.

We especially invite you to participate by volunteering a venue, being a mentor, demonstrating a skill, or showcasing your stewardship!

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