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 February 2024 

Keystone Trails Association is on a new path forward that honors its past and focuses on the present needs of PA hikers and hiking trails. 


Keystone Trails Association is at an important juncture in its growth. KTA is transitioning from an all-volunteer organization, with a few staff, to a staff-driven organization destined to expand the organization’s reach and impact for the hiking community and trails preservation in Pennsylvania. 

This significant structural change makes space for exciting new initiatives. KTA worked diligently alongside a consulting agency to create a 2024–2028 strategic plan for the organization, including a new vision statement:

We envision that all explorers feel welcome to enjoy and care for our trails so that Pennsylvania is a premier destination for exceptional hiking experiences.

The goals below give a quick overview of the full strategic plan that outlines achievable high-level strategic goals, objectives, and initiatives. The plan outlines a path forward but was designed to be agile and flexible so new opportunities can also be pursued. 

  • Goal 1: Expand KTA's connections and mission impact within Pennsylvania’s hiking trail community through the support of Hiking Clubs, support and training of volunteers, advocacy partnerships with the trails’ community, and preservation of trails through Trail Care. 
  • Goal 2: Build community engagement through expanded outreach, social media communications, and marketing and promotion of activities and events.
  • Goal 3: Strengthen the long-term financial sustainability of the Keystone Trails Association through grants, donations, memberships, and additional sources of revenue. 
  • Goal 4: Strengthen organization governance with an improved structure and defined roles for the board, committees, and council that accelerate KTA's success.
  • Goal 5: ​Build future organization capacity through strengthened partner relationships, staff development, and a potential headquarters location that would offer space for expanded programming.

These strategic goals support and further KTA's mission, which will remain the same in this season of change: To provide, protect, preserve, and promote recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.


This month's Trail Care story is from Tom Oliver, DCNR Recreation Forester in Tioga State Forest, about the West Rim Trail, which KTA regularly maintains.

"I have worked pretty closely with KTA over the years here in Tioga... [KTA volunteers'] work and time are incredibly valuable and appreciated. I am the only person employed here who takes care of trails, so there is no possible way I can take care of everything myself.  Their help on West Rim Trail has improved the trail and hiking experience for all users." –Tom Oliver

Join KTA for a trail care event in its 40th season!

We are getting very excited about the 2024 Trail Care season. A few remaining details are being hammered out, but the majority of the schedule is complete. View our trail maintenance schedule here. Find a trail maintenance event in your region, or travel across the state to explore a new place! If you enjoy hiking, please consider giving back for a day or more.


In the meantime, plan to come out and meet Jenn and Brook and other interesting trail maintenance folks during KTA’s Trail Care Roadshow! During March, you’ll have 3 opportunities to find out, in person, what KTA and our Trail Care Program are all about. We’ll have brochures, handouts, and other first-hand information, as well as some giveaways. Dates:
• Friday, March 8 in Harrisburg at Zeroday Brewing’s 3rd Street Taproom, time TBD

  • Friday, March 15 in Williamsport at New Trail Brewing, 3-9pm
  • Friday, March 29 in Gardners at Big Hill Ciderworks, 5-9pm

If you can’t make it to one of these three Roadshow events, join us from the comfort of your recliner and jump on the Trail Care Q&A webinar on March 14th at 6 pm. Seasoned Trail Care volunteers can answer all your questions. More details and register here.


Read Cyril's interview >


Read Rita & Steve's interview >


Apply for KTA Mini-Grants!

The KTA Grants-to-Clubs program offers funding to KTA member organizations for projects beneficial to trails, the vitality of their organization,
and the practice of hiking (e.g., giving people a positive trail experience).
Sample projects may include (but aren't limited to):
  • Tools for trail maintenance
  • Materials for trail improvements (e.g., lumber for a bridge)
  • Trail signage
  • Van rental (e.g., van to shuttle participants or volunteers)
  • Facility rental costs (e.g., for club events, exhibit space, etc.)
  • Food (e.g., for volunteers or club events)
  • Promotional materials for activities (stickers, brochures, advertising, tshirts, etc.)
  • Insurance costs

The Spring 2024 round will award up to ten $500 grants to qualifying
organizations. Get additional details and apply by March 25, 2024 at kta-hike.org/grants.


KTA Executive Director Speaks in Favor of American Martens Returning to PA

KTA's executive director offered a testimony at the January 27, 2024 meeting of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The testimony refers to a plan by the agency to reintroduce the American Marten. A Commission biologist, Tom Keller, delivered a program about this initiative at KTA's Spring Hiking Weekend in Wellsboro in April 2023. Read the testimony here >


 Featured Store Product 

FALLS & VIEWS LOOP: EXPLORING THE WILDNESS OF WORLDS END STATE PARK & LOYALSOCK STATE FOREST is a 70-page guidebook and three full-color maps including detailed turn-by-turn directions highlighting waterfalls, views, geological features, trail registers, water sources, and alternate routes. Local history is also highlighted about the history of coal mining, railroading, and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Sullivan County and beyond. Shop Now! >



 2024 Trail Care Season 

It's the 40th anniversary of KTA's Trail Care Program! We're looking forward to an amazing year of special trail maintenance events including:

  • 4/25-28: Quehanna Trail, SB Elliott SP cabins (pending confirmation)
  • 5/2-5: Mid State Trail- State College, Rimmey Lodge @ 7 Mountains Scout camp
  • 5/8-12 (Wed-Sun): Chuck Keiper Trail, Lodge at Hyner Run SP
  • 5/16-19: Mid State Trail- Woolrich, Ravensburg SP (pending confirmation)
  • 5/31-6/1: New Trail Care Event- Trail Love in Michaux State Forest
  • 6/6-9: Mid State Trail- Everett, Tenley Park
  • 6/13-16: Mid State Trail- Tioga, Hills Creek SP group tenting
  • 6/20-23: Oil Creek State Park, OCSP group tenting
  • 8/15-18: Thunder Swamp Trail, Resica Falls Scout Camp
  • 10/10-13: Golden Eagle Trail, Jersey Mills Ranger Station

KTA Trail Care Road Show:

  • Friday, March 8 in Harrisburg at Zeroday Brewing’s 3rd Street Taproom, time TBD
  • Friday, March 15 in Williamsport at New Trail Brewing, 3-9pm
  • Friday, March 29 in Gardners at Big Hill Ciderworks, 5-9pm

Registration for these events and MORE will be available soon! Learn more about our Trail Care Program.

Meet Pennsylvania's Old Growth Forests (Webinar)
February 7, 2024, 6PM 

Did you know that only a few remnant old-growth forests exist in the U.S.? Why do they matter? Where can you find them in Pennsylvania? To answer these questions and more, we'll be joined by Brian Kane from the Old Growth Forest Network. He will guide you through the environmental impacts of old growth forests, how they can improve our personal health, and suggest hiking trails that feature these ancient families of trees. Register Now >


What is Wilderness First Aid? (Webinar)
February 12, 2024, 6PM 

What is Wilderness First Aid? How is it different than traditional first aid? How can you better prevent injury while hiking and manage hiking related injuries? Join Keith Williams, VP of Engagement and Education, Lancaster Conservancy for this 1-hour webinar to learn a basic 101-style overview of how to care for some of the most common hiking issues. Register Now >


How to Hike the Appalachian Trail in PA (Webinar Q&A with PA AT Award Earners)
February 20, 2024, 6PM 

Wish you could talk to someone who's hiked the AT in PA before you hit the trail? This webinar is for you! In this live Q&A, you'll meet some of the most recent folks who have hiked the whole Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail, each receiving the Pennsylvania AT Award from KTA in October 2023! Ask your questions, be inspired, and feel more confident about your hiking experience. Register Now >


Trail Maintenance: What to Expect – Q&A with Trail Care Volunteers (Webinar)
March 14, 2024, 6PM 

If you're curious what it's like to volunteer for Trail Care, this is the webinar for you! KTA will be hosting a live Q&A with a panel of active Trail Care Program Volunteers to help you feel comfortable and excited about trying trail maintenance! What types of skills will you learn? Do you need experience? Which trails need the most love? How does it all work? Who will teach me? These questions and more will be discussed! Register Now >


Climate & Hiking Trails: Forum (Webinar)
March 20, 2024, 6:30PM 

Join Greg Czarnecki, Director of Applied Climate Science for the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Brook Lenker, KTA Executive Director, for a conversation around climate impacts on PA’s hiking trails. Learn about our state’s changing climate and share stories from observations in the field. We want your ideas, big and small, for mitigation, adaptation, and communications. All are welcome, but trail volunteers and trail club leaders are especially encouraged to join the session.


Wilderness First Aid
April 6-7, 2024 | Lebanon, PA

Wilderness First Aid is a two-day introduction to general medical concepts and basic life support skills taught by Tara Cross, a qualified and experienced WMA instructor. It is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast on day trips or short adventures. This course results in a certification in Wilderness First Aid and Adult CPR. Register Now >


Spring Hike Weekend 
April 19-21, 2024 | Stroudsburg, PA 

Join us for 3 days of hiking, camaraderie, and looking ahead to the future of PA's trails! Lodging will be provided at Twin Pines Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center in Stroudsburg, PA. Choose from either a hotel-style room, bunk stay, or campsite. Enjoy evening presentations about the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape and Appalachian Trail. Learn more and Register Now > 


Trail Love: Michaux State Forest Edition 
May 31–June 1, 2024Registration opening soon!

You won't want to miss this celebratory one-day trail maintenance extravaganza! Volunteers and community partners will tackle multiple trail maintenance projects on several trails in or proximate to the Michaux State Forest. An optional forest camporee on Friday evening and a congratulatory cookout will be provided after projects are completed on Saturday. 



Allegheny National Forest Hiking Weekend | August 16-19, 2024

Trail Challenge 25K Hike/Run | September 7, 2024

Keystone Hiking & Outdoor Weekend | October 18-20, 2024

 Other PA Club & Org Events 


Submit your hiking event to be considered for our newsletter! 

 5 Things to Do this Winter 

  1. Enroll in the Leave No Trace 101 FREE online course
  2. Become a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, a statewide partnership initiative that aims to connect people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work
  3. Submit photos to PA Parks and Forests Foundation's photo contest
  4. Catch up on the latest episodes of the Hemlocks to Hellbenders podcast to help you plan upcoming hikes
  5. Sign up for KTA's 100 Mile Trail Challenge where every mile hiked and every dollar raised supports hiking trails throughout the state of PA

We honor and celebrate the life of Glenn Oster a long-time member of KTA. Glenn hiked 2,000 miles of the Pennsylvania Trails (received all five hiking awards issued by KTA), was one of the two first hikers to ever receive the Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources Hiking Award, concluded his AT hike at age 73, and had many other accomplishments on his 300+ adventures. Glenn passed away at 99 years old on 12/31/23.


Learn about PA's State Parks

We're happy to sponsor the Hemlocks to Hellbenders podcast in 2024. This show highlights PA's beautiful outdoor recreation opportunities. Listen to the latest episode here!

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