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Elk State Forest 'Elk Crossings Everywhere' © Janara Hoppock
In the town of Benezette, PA there are elk crossings everywhere.
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USA Parks
USA Parks
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
North-Central Region
North-Central Region
Elk State Forest
Elk State Forest
ELK STATE FOREST
ELK STATE FOREST
Elk State Forest
'Elk Crossings Everywhere'

In the town of Benezette, PA there are elk crossings everywhere.

Elk State Forest
'Sinnemahoning Creek '

Sinnemahoning Creek in Benezette, PA

The Elk State Forest derives its name from the great number of elk that once thrived in the area. Pennsylvania's only elk here can usually be found in the forests between the village of Benezette eastward into the Hicks Run watershed.

Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing, and general recreational activities. The state forest land is delineated by metal tags and white paint marks on trees. Along major roads, the boundary markers are supplemented with wooden signs.

The virgin forest in Elk District consisted of magnificent white pine, hemlock, some red pine, mixed oaks and northern hardwoods, which included beech, sugar maple, birch, and black cherry. The first timber removed from the district was the white pine used for ship masts. Some of the finest white pine spar trees in the country were removed from Sterling Run between 1865 and 1872.
History of the Area
The Elk State Forest derives its name from the great number of elk that once thrived in the area. Pennsylvania's only elk here can usually be found in the forests between the village of Benezette eastward into the Hicks Run watershed.

Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing, and general recreational activities. The state forest land is delineated by metal tags and white paint marks on trees. Along major roads, the boundary markers are supplemented with wooden signs.

The virgin forest in Elk District consisted of magnificent white pine, hemlock, some red pine, mixed oaks and northern hardwoods, which included beech, sugar maple, birch, and black cherry. The first timber removed from the district was the white pine used for ship masts. Some of the finest white pine spar trees in the country were removed from Sterling Run between 1865 and 1872.

After white pine longs became scarce, hemlock lumber prices rose high enough for the tanneries formerly using only the bark, to begin marketing hemlock logs for lumber. Sawmills and logging camps sprang up throughout the district. Logs cut from the vast stands of hemlock were rafted or floated down streams such as the First Fork, the Driftwood Branch and the Bennett's Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek.



In 1915, the last log raft went down the Driftwood Branch, thus ending the hemlock logging era. The cut-over areas were further altered by vast wildfires that killed the remaining young trees. With the exception of few virgin stands passed up by loggers, the old growth forest in this area was gone.

The first purchase of land for the Elk State Forest was 3,487 acre tract in Middle Jerry Run bought from D.R. Fullterton on May 31, 1900. Originally called Forest Reservations, these lands were purchased to reestablish a forest that had been nearly eliminated by cutting and burning.

Many of the roads, hiking trails and conifer plantations in the Elk State Forest were projects of the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.). This 1933 peace time "army" was recruited to battle the destruction and erosion of the nation's natural resources. Between 1933 and 1941, men from nine camps accomplished many projects on the Elk State Forest.

On October 19, 1938, eight C.C.C. fire fighters lost their lives at Pepperhill, north of Sinnemahoning, when they were trapped on the steep hillside by a fast-moving forest fire. The Wayside Memorial Spring, located three miles south of Emporium along PA Route 120, is maintained for the public use in memory of those devoted men.


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Trails
Hiking Trails:

The two premier trails are The Bucktail Path and The Quehanna Trail. The Bucktail begins near Sizerville State Park and extends southward approximately 30 miles to the village of Sinnemahoning. A hiker on this trail will travel through both the northern hardwood and oak hickory forest types. The trail can be traversed in short sections, if desired, and it can provide both an enjoyable experience for the beginning hiker and the challenging one for the veteran. The Quehanna Trail, located in the southern part of Cameron County, loops though the Quehanna Wild Area and surrounding state forest land, covering approximately 30 miles on the Elk State Forest. The trail continues into the Moshannon State Forest for another 30 miles.

Other hiking trails of special note in the district are: The Fred Woods Trail, a five-mile loop taking the hiker to a unique area of large boulders and scenic vistas; The Pine Tree Trail, a self-guided two-mile walk along a interpretive trail that winds through The Pine Tree Natural Area; The Dividing Ridge/Eddy's Run Trail, a fairly easy ten-mile walk, close to Emporium, which has the hiker following a system of logging roads through a beautiful area of state forest land; and the newly created Elk Trail, where the hiker can cover 19 miles over railroad grades, pipelines, logging roads, and sections of newly created trail, with a chance to see free-roaming elk in their eastern habitat.
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USA Parks
USA Parks
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
North-Central Region
North-Central Region
Elk State Forest
Elk State Forest