In this issue of The Keystone Hiker: Spring Events, Meet a PA Hiker, and more!
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 March 2024 

The first day of Spring is Tuesday, March 19!

During this refreshing, energetic season, we encourage you to connect with others, learn something new, or take on a challenge! Here are some ideas from our calendar and other organizations we love:



  • Join KTA at Wildwood Park's Wetlands Festival in Harrisburg on Sat., 4/17 to enjoy wildlife exhibits, displays, walks, talks, and more.
  • Get trail recommendations and hear stories from other hikers around the state by reading KTA's new "Meet a PA Hiker" articles (& submit your own!)



Trail Care Roadshow - coming to a town near you!

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. 


• Friday, March 8 in Harrisburg at Zeroday Brewing’s 3rd Street Taproom, time 3-9pm

  • Friday, March 15 in Williamsport at New Trail Brewing, 3-8pm
  • 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.


👋 Meet Charlie! He is from south-central PA and is involved with the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association.

Q: Which hiking trails do you recommend (anywhere in PA)?

A: "I loved hiking in Hickory Run State Park with our scouts. There is a waterfall and a boulder field."

Read Charlie's full story!

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


Help Save Cuff's Run!

On 2/1/24, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accepted a preliminary permit application submitted by York Energy Services for a Pumped Storage Hydro Project at Cuffs Run on the Lower Susquehanna River. The public is welcome to attend an educational meeting on 3/4 to learn more about the application and licensing process and how to comment and intervene during the 60-day window. This meeting is NOT a time to express opposition or support of the project to FERC staff. Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting:

Monday, Mar 4, 2024  6:00PM

Chanceford Township Building
33 Muddy Creek Forks Rd.
Brogue, PA 17309

Amongst many concerning impacts from the construction and operation of such a facility, Keystone Trails Association is especially worried about the potential destruction of an exceptional section of the Mason Dixon Trail.

Our friends at the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper and the Lancaster Conservancy offer extensive information regarding how to comment and otherwise get involved in this important issue. Please make your voice heard.


ATVs on our Public Lands – Share Your Stories 

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) intends to operate an ATV Regional Trail Connector through the 2025 riding season following the conclusion of the ATV Regional Trail Connector pilot in 2023. The agency’s report to the Pennsylvania legislature summarizes their findings from the pilot period. 

KTA remains opposed to the expansion of ATV and UTV trails on state forest lands because of the inherent incongruence with state forest values. The noise, environmental degradation, and climate-warming pollution accompanying ATVs contradicts conservation goals. The experiences of hikers and other recreationalists on these public lands are diminished by increased ATV activity.  

The observations of hikers, especially but not solely from the ATV pilot area of northcentral Pennsylvania, are invaluable in better understanding the scope and scale of ATV impacts. If you’ve encountered ATVs or UTVs on your outings, please share your insights via this survey. Please respond by 3/31.


More Sunday Hunting on the Horizon?
Representative Mandy Steele (D – Fox Chapel) is seeking cosponsors for a bill that would give the PA Game Commission the authority to decide when and how Sunday hunting is permitted. Currently, three Sundays – determined each year by the legislature – are open to hunting.

Some see Sunday hunting as an opportunity to get more people, including youth, engaged in hunting and better connected to the outdoors. Expanded hunting may lead to greater deer harvests and lessen herbivory on overgrazed forests. Nevertheless, legitimate concerns remain about risks to hikers and other trail users. If more Sundays are open for hunting, will more accidents arise? Will hikers stay home from the real or perceived chance of death or injury, or to avoid the sounds of gunfire disrupting the serenity of the forest?

We want to know how YOU feel about this issue. Please take our short survey.



 Featured Store Product 

Pinchot Trail System Guide Book

Check out this trail at KTA's Spring Hiking Weekend!

The Pinchot Trail is a 22 mile circuit trail in the Pinchot State Forest. The trail offers a little bit of everything that a hiker would want from a trail. Sheltered paths, a gurgling creek, a picturesque waterfall and a bog area which contain some plants not common to Pennsylvania. 

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! Since the last newsletter, 5 more events have been added (West Rim, Beaver Meadows, Hills Creek, Elk State Forest, and a Chuck Keiper part 2), and the date for Oil Creek changed. The main Trail Care webpage has been revised, and registration/information pages for each event are going live as they're finished. The 2024 roster of 15 weekend events includes:

  • 4/25-28: Quehanna Trail, Parker Dam SP cabins/tent
  • 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
  • 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
  • 6/27-30: Oil Creek State Park, OCSP group tenting
  • 7/18-21: West Rim Trail, Twin Streams campground
  • 8/8-11: Beaver Meadows (Allegheny National Forest), Loleta Recreation Area
  • 8/15-18: Thunder Swamp Trail, Resica Falls Scout Camp
  • 8/21-24 (Wed-Sat): Hills Creek SP,  group tenting
  • 9/12-15: Elk State Forest, Sinnemahoning SP
  • 9/26-29: Chuck Keiper/ Sproul Trails, Hyner Run SP
  • 10/10-13: Golden Eagle Trail, Jersey Mills Ranger Station

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

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.
Register Now >


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 Hiking 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 > 


Kittatinny Rambles Series: Appalachian Trail Bluebell Hike at Scott Farm 
Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Middlesex Township, Cumberland County

Enjoy beautiful Virginia bluebell wildflowers blooming in profusion along the Appalachian and Conodoguinet Creek. Learn about plans for the Scott Farm property as the future home of Keystone Trails Association and an important hub for trail activities by conservation partners. The adjacent Kittatinny Ridge is a major flyway for migratory birds and an iconic landscape deserving amplified awareness and protection. 

3:00 p.m. – Easy four-mile out-and-back hike
4:30 p.m. – Alternative half-mile out and back
5:00 p.m. – Picnic at Scott Farm

The event is free, but please register by April 19! Register Now >


Kittatinny Rambles Series: Wildwood Mega Hike at Wildwood Park 
Saturday, April 27, 2024 | Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County

As part of Wildwood Wetlands Festival, explore approximately four miles of the park’s trail system, incorporating portions of the wetland boardwalks, East Shore Trail, Tall Timbers Trail, Fox Run Trail, Wildwood Way, and the Towpath Trail. The hike traverses a variety of habitats–from open marsh to
mature upland forest–and affords inspiring views of the Susquehanna Water Gap, a National Natural Landmark along the Kittatinny Ridge.

Event Location:
100 Wildwood Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110

The hike departs from the entrance to the Olewine Nature Center The event is free. Registration is not required.


Trail Love: Michaux State Forest Edition 
May 31–June 1, 2024 

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.
Register Now >


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

Challenge yourself to complete these arduous miles of steep climbs and rocky terrain punctuated with fantastic vistas and scenic forest hollows. The course is great for both trail runners pushing for their best times on rugged trails and hikers aiming to complete the strenuous challenge before the evening finish cutoff. *Early bird pricing ends June 30!* Register Now >



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

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

 Other PA Club & Org Events 

  • Have you heard of Hilltop Packs? They are a family-owned business focused on creating ultralight and ultra-custom hiking products made right in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Armstrong Trails to celebrate the "Impossible" on April 1! Event to note additional 10 miles are being added to the passage will take place 4/1.

  • Birders of all ages and skill levels are joining forces across the state as part of the monumental effort to map the breeding and wintering status of bird species in Pennsylvania.
  • Governor Josh Shapiro presented his 2024-2025 budget proposal on February 6 which includes another strong investment in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, with new funding to build trails and expand the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program.
  • Congratulations to Trails At Jakes Rocks for being selected as Pennsylvania’s 2024 Trail Of The Year!
  • Congratulations to the Allegheny River for being named Pennsylvania’s 2024 River Of The Year!
  • Looking for a new place to explore? Check out these 36 East Coast Trails

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!

Our condolences to the family and friends of Mary Bleecker, who was a lifetime member of KTA and many other trail clubs in the Philadelphia area.

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