COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Terry Brady
DCNR TO RECOGNIZE HIKERS FROM ALLEGHENY, LANCASTER COUNTIES WITH TRAIL CHALLENGE AWARDS
HARRISBURG (September 26, 2003) — A total of 780 miles and 18 state forest hiking trails behind them, two Pennsylvania residents have earned recognition from a statewide hiking organization and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry.
M. Virginia Musser of Lititz, Lancaster County, and Glen Oster of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, are the first recipients of the State Forest Trails Award, announced jointly earlier this year by DCNR and the Keystone Trails Association (KTA). The hikers will be honored at the KTA’s annual fall meeting Oct. 3-5 at Kenbrook Bible Camp, Lebanon County.
“DCNR teamed up with the KTA to recognize individual hiking achievements while, at the same time, drawing attention to the vast wealth of hiking opportunities offered in this state,” said DCNR Executive Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry John Plonski. “These two award-winners blazed a path that’s sure to be followed by others.”
Musser and Oster each will receive a certificate, patch and ceremonial wooden walking stick at the KTA’s annual meeting dinner.
Regardless of completion time, the award recognizes anyone hiking all of Pennsylvania’s 18 State Forest hiking trails, which total 780 miles. There is no requirement on sequence, direction, speed, or length of time to complete the system.
“Whether completion takes several months or several years, the challenge and the accomplishment merit a strong salute from fellow hikers and the DCNR,” said Plonski, who was instrumental in establishing the hiking award. “Though some forest trails may be too challenging for some, sections of others can serve as portals to healthy days afield and new adventures outdoors.”
The 18 State Forest Hiking Trails generally are longer, more rugged wilderness trails than other hiking opportunities offered in Pennsylvania’s state forests and parks. Most of the trails were formerly part of the local trail networks, former logging roads, tram railways and carriage paths. Many sections are designated for hiking use only, and each trail has its own maps or guidebooks.
Most of the hiking trails are maintained by volunteer hiking groups, such as the KTA and affiliated clubs, with support from DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry personnel. The 18 trails making up the state forest hiking trail system are the:
For more information, hikers can visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/hiking. The website provides links to information on each trail, as well as an application to claim the award. For more information, contact Matt Beaver at (717) 783-7941.
DCNR has developed several hiking-related programs over the past few years, including Pennsylvania Hiking Week, a 10-day collection of more than 100 organized hikes in cities, suburbs, forests and parks throughout the state.
DCNR, in partnership with the state Department of Health, Wildlands Conservancy and the Harrisburg Patriot-News, last spring unveiled a hiking program—Hike for Health—designed to connect citizens with nearby walking and hiking opportunities. The pilot program featured 20 trails in southcentral Pennsylvania, one each week for 20 weeks in the Patriot-News during the spring and summer.
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