A short walk through an old-growth hemlock grove.

Statistics

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hrs

14

m

14

m

2

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Easy

Description

Alan Seeger Natural Area is one of the best places to observe healthy, old-growth hemlock trees in central PA.

A proposed *property-boundary* or *surveying* error by [this source](), the original forest was logged by the 1840s, leaving only a small selection of the beautiful evergreens behind.

Research, including "coring," suggests that some of the hemlocks could be upwards of 500 years old, a rarity to behold amongst a forest logged so heavily.

Other hardwoods nearby have been dated of similar age. Interestingly, hemlock is actually a softwood, though it grows harder with age according to [this source](https://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-species-2/hemlock#:~:text=Hemlock%20even%20gives%20some%20hardwoods,actually%20grows%20harder%20with%20age!&text=The%20bark%20of%20both%20hemlock,and%20has%20broad%2C%20deep%20ridges.).

Spanning much of the east coast and even into the Great Lakes region, the mighty hemlock has fallen to the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), threatening its future in our forests.

First documented in the 1950s, nearly 90% of the eastern hemlock population has been affected by the insect, though certain states have made considerable progress in fighting the pest.

While states such as NC and GA weren't as successful due to their climate, Pennsylvania has made considerable efforts to preserve the tree.

In areas where hemlock have fallen prey to the pest, pine were often planted in place to preserve the evergreen canopy and its unique plantlife below.

This hike is short and easy, though rocks and roots could prove tricky for some.

Neither water nor restrooms are readily available, though Greenwood Furnace State Park is only a short drive down the road.

The drive to the trailhead is all on well-maintained gravel, and cell reception is limited - so be sure to download or save the route to your phone or preferred GPS device. Sources: https://flickr.com/photos/nicholas_t/albums/72157631828596935 [Hemlock Woolly Adelgid](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemlock_woolly_adelgid)