Special Hiking Activities in Sproul State Forest
Jul 23, 2016 09:36AM
● By Erica Shames
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry invites hikers and other visitors to sample the rugged beauty of the Sproul State Forest when the three-day "Prowl the Sproul" series of hikes steps off Friday, July 29
Marking its 13th year, the increasingly popular hiking program links forest visitors with guides from the Bureau of Forestry, Keystone Trails Association (KTA) and local civic and sportsmen's groups.
“This unique invitation is extended by the folks who best know this forest district amid the Pennsylvania Wilds," DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Who could ask for a more perfect destination than thousands of mountainous, unspoiled acres to explore? That's exactly what keeps 'Prowl the Sproul' participants coming back year after year from across the state.”
This year’s event will kick-off with a grand opening of the newly relocated Donut Hole Trail on the Left Branch Sugar Camp Road, not far from the former Whetham Fire Tower site. The former fire tower cabin now serves as The Nature Conservancy Lodge.
DCNR and KTA guides have selected many of the most popular trails in Sproul State Forest, including various new hikes on sections of the relocated Donut Hole Trail, and near Kettle Creek State Park, Eagleton Mine Camp Trail, Chuck Keiper Trail, and a new hike that overlooks Renovo. This year, the event will again feature new hikes, and guides will lead hikers off the beaten path to see some of the lesser-known, natural jewels of the Sproul State Forest.
"If a newcomer to the joys of hiking, what better way to be introduced than with skilled, knowledgeable group leaders guiding you to some of the most scenic hiking areas in the state?" said Dunn.
Hikers will have the opportunity to choose from hikes that feature waterfalls, overlooks, old railroad grades, historical sites, unique woodlands and flora that make the Sproul State Forest truly unique among our 20 state forest districts. To combat the summer heat, a number of ‘cool’ hikes will include visits to streams, waterfalls, and other cool spots known only by DCNR guides.
Guided hikes ranging from 2 to 9 miles offer hikers a variety of difficulty levels, terrain, and scenery before Prowl the Sproul XIII events close Sunday, July 31. In total, the weekend will feature 18 guided hikes consisting of three on Friday, ten on Saturday, and five on Sunday. Early registration is urged as each hike is limited to 20 participants.
Seasoned veterans or those seeking to challenge themselves can sign up - limited to the first 20 individuals - for the Donut Hole Slackpack. The slackpack will cover 45-miles on the eastern half of the Donut Hole Trail, over the three-day weekend, and feature 18.1 miles of the “new” Donut Hole Trail. Register via the KTA website (below).
Besides the KTA, DCNR's Bureau of Forestry again is teaming up with the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association (WCSA) to introduce association members and the public to the wealth of hiking opportunities found in north central Pennsylvania. A week prior to Prowl the Sproul Hiking weekend, the PA Trail Dogs will host the eighth annual Prowl the Sproul 10K on Saturday, July 23. Registration for this popular event has closed. For more information contact Craig Fleming at email@example.com.
“Prowl the Sproul is truly an extraordinary outdoor weekend. To look out over the vistas, hike the remote trails and learn from experienced guides makes for a one-of-a-kind weekend,” said Keystone Trails Association Executive Director Joseph Neville. "If you are new to hiking, please join us for some great summertime hikes. Detailed descriptions of the hikes can be found on the Keystone Trails Association website."
Food and lodging options are available for the weekend, Neville said, but reservations must be made.
Visit the KTA website, www.kta-hike.org, to download a registration form. Organized in 1956, KTA is a 1,306-member umbrella organization made up of 44 hiking and outdoors organizations in and around Pennsylvania. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org , call 717-238-7017 or visit www.kta-hike.org.
For general information, contact the Sproul State Forest District Office, 15187 Renovo Road, Renovo; 570-923-6011, or visit the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.