Where to hike in August, Keystone Hike Fest, and more!
If you're having trouble viewing this email, you can see it online.

 August 2023 

President's Corner

Dear KTA Community,

I want to thank you for your efforts in furthering our mission of providing, preserving, protecting, and promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.

I hope you have been enjoying your summer and have found time to invite a friend or family member for a hike on one of our many Pennsylvania Trails or maybe you found time to volunteer on one or more Trail Care events.

There is a lot going on with KTA through the efforts of our Executive Director, Brook Lenker, our staff, and our volunteers. 

KTA is developing a three to five-year strategic plan.  As part of the DCNR grant, KTA has hired the consultant Strategic Consulting Partners to assist in the development of the plan during 2023.  Members and clubs are being interviewed at KTA Meetings and through other methods.  If asked for your input on your KTA experiences please participate in this important endeavor.

I want to thank Krista Cessna for Chairing the Strategic Planning Committee and coordinating the committee's efforts with our consultant.  The majority of strategic planning costs are being covered by the recent grant from the PA DCNR. 

There is a full list of KTA events, activities, training courses, and trail care opportunities.  Please visit our website and sign up for one or more and bring a friend.  And don't forget to sign up for our annual KTA Trail Challenge on Saturday, September 9, either as a participant or a volunteer to help run the event.  Plan to participate in our 100-Mile Trail Challenge fundraiser from September 1, 2023, through August 31, 2024.  If you completed the 100-Mile Trail Challenge for this year congratulations and thanks for your fundraising efforts.  

Be sure to sign up for our Keystone Hikefest this fall on October 20 through 22 in Johnstown, PA.  This is our KTA Fall weekend but supersized with all kinds of hiking opportunities, programs, and events.  Our staff have made arrangements for both motel accommodations and camping opportunities.  This will be a great family event.  Plan to sign up and bring a friend.  

At our fall membership meeting we will recognize individuals who have completed hiking awards throughout the year so please be sure to submit your applications which are available on our website.  We will recognize those who have attended our Trail Cares throughout the year.  There will be recognitions for our Keystone Trail Endowment donors, Certificates of Achievement, Volunteer of the Year, and the KTA Citation Award for Lifetime Achievement recipients.

And here is a final challenge for the weekend and our fall membership meeting, which club will bring the most members to the weekend and the meeting?  We will have our annual roll call of the clubs.  Let's see who will have the most in attendance.  It's all for bragging rights and recognition in our newsletter.  Maybe this President can drum up some kind of prize.  Start promoting the Keystone Hikefest among your club's members.

For the trails and those who wander on them!

Wayne E. Gross
President, Board of Directors 
Keystone Trails Association


 KTA News & Announcements 

? KTA announces new member-only deals, discounts, and offers!

? Nominations Committee is seeking nominations for four awards that recognize outstanding individuals and clubs! Nominations due 9/15/23.

? KTA Hiking Award applications are due by 9/1/23.

? Take a look inside the NEW 13th Edition of the Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Guide!

? Keystone Trails Association introduced "Trail Academy," a series of hiking-related online and in-person training opportunities.

? KTA joined 12+ organizations and elected officials to sign a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting it deny a proposal for a pumped storage hydroelectric facility along the Susquehanna River.





Why does KTA provide hiking opportunities?

With so many newer folks around here, it's a great time to review our mission: to provide, protect, preserve, and promote recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.  

This month, we're focusing on PROVIDE. Why does KTA provide hiking opportunities?

Well, while not all who wander are lost, not all who hike may be on the right path! KTA provides guided hikes with the goal of teaching and supporting hikers in traversing PA's trails safely and mindfully.

Our volunteer guides include hikers who have been exploring PA's footpaths for decades, completed the Appalachian Trail, are certified in Wilderness First Aid, have extensive knowledge about PA's native plants, are trained in Leave No Trace, and much more.

When you hike with KTA, you also have the (perhaps underrated) opportunity to meet other hikers. Trails are a fun environment where some of the most engaging conversations take place and build a meaningful community.

We have some great upcoming hikes! Check out our event list below.

In this newsletter, we've also included a few hiking opportunities with some of our trail club members. Happy hiking and stay safe!


 August Featured Hikes 

Check out these featured August events from our club members and KTA that total 60+ miles of hiking!

View the calendar

 Upcoming KTA Events 

Trail Challenge Preview Hike - Section 1: Pinnacle Overlook to Susquehannock State Park
August 5, 2023, 9am | Susquehannock State Park 

Get ready for the upcoming KTA Trail Challenge 25K by taking a test hike on our new course! Led by a KTA guide, you'll hike the first half of the course, 13.8 KM, at a moderate pace. Meet at Susquehannock State Park Hawk Point Pavilion – follow the road to the second parking lot.

Learn More & Register


Trailside Invaders [Webinar]
August 8, 2023, 6pm–7pm | Zoom 

Join Dr. Autumn Sabo, Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State University, for an informative session about invasive plant species found in Pennsylvania that are most vexing to trails and hikers. From
Japanese barberry to mile-a-minute weed, find out how to identify these problematic intruders and what to do next.

Learn More & Register


Trail Challenge Preview Hike - Section 2: Pequea Campground to Pinnacle Overlook
August 12, 2023, 8:30am | Susquehannock State Park 

Get ready for the upcoming KTA Trail Challenge 25K by taking a test hike on our new course! Led by a KTA guide, you'll hike the second half of the course, 11.2 KM, at a moderate pace. Meet at Pinnacle Overlook.

Learn More & Register


Trail Care: Special Projects for NPSFS Certified Volunteer Sawyers (...but all volunteers are welcome!)
August 10–13, 2023 | Tracy Ridge Trail System, Allegheny Nat'l Forest

If you are a "National Park Service and Forest Service" certified volunteer sawyer, we have special projects for you during this trip! Tasks for this trip include swamping for certified sawyers, brushcutting, and lopping. At night, camp under the shady oaks at Tracy Ridge Campground nestled in the Allegheny National Forest!

Learn More & Volunteer


Trail Care: Tune-Up While Trekking the Thunder Swamp
August 24–27, 2023 | Thunder Swamp System, DE State Forest

Wander through streams, wetlands, and rocky havens as you clear heavy blowdowns, lop, and cut back brush along the trails to revitalize and provide an overall tune-up for these pathways first built in the 1970s! In the evenings, gather around the bonfire at the Deer Run group camping site at Resica Falls Scout Reservation!

Learn More & Volunteer


Allegheny National Forest Hiking Weekend
August 25–27, 2023 | Ludlow, PA

Hikes with waterfalls or cascades and abundant wildlife will surround you! Enjoy gorgeous vistas, rock outcroppings, open hardwoods, old-growth forests, and stands of hemlock. Each day you can choose from a selection of excursions led by knowledgeable and experienced local hike leaders. At night, enjoy home-cooked meals and cozy accommodations.

Learn More & Register


"Hit the Trails" ⚾️ An Evening of Baseball with the Lancaster Barnstormers!  [KTA Fundraiser] 
August 31, 2023 | Lancaster, PA

Come support the Keystone Trails Association while enjoying a Lancaster Barnstormers game at Clipper Magazine Stadium! A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the Keystone Trails Association.

Learn More & Get Tickets


Trail Challenge 25K Run & Hike  [KTA Fundraiser] 
September 9, 2023 | Lancaster County

​​​Challenge yourself to complete these arduous miles of steep climbs and rocky terrain punctuated with fantastic vistas and scenic forest hollows. 

Learn More & Register


Intro to Backpacking: Overnight on the Loyalsock Trail
October 8-9, 2023 | Loyalsock State Forest

​​​Are you a beginner backpacker looking for more experience? This KTA  trip is for you! Join us for an introductory 14-mile overnight backpacking trip on the beautiful Loyalsock Trail (LT)!

Learn More & Register


NEW: Fall Hike Fest
October 20-22, 2023 | Johnstown, PA

PA's first community-centered outdoor recreation weekend! Keystone Hike Fest brings a local PA community together by highlighting its best outdoor recreation features and experts. Held in Johnstown this year, you'll be surprised by this hiking oasis in western-PA! Registration opens on Tuesday, August 8th.

Learn More


Rambles #4: Appalachian Trail Section at Lehigh Gap
September 23, 2023 | Slatington

Hike a portion of the recently rerouted Appalachian Trail section maintained by KTA! Enjoy new spectacular views of the area. The hike will be led by members of KTA's A.T. section group. 

Learn More & Register


Plant I.D. Walking Workshop on the Appalachian Trail
September 24, 2023 | Carlisle

Explore a short section of the Appalachian Trail while learning about methods of plant identification!

Learn More & Register


 August Hikes with KTA Club Members 


 From the KTA Blog 


 Have you Heard? 

? The AT Museum is excited to host Anne Van Curen on Saturday, August 5th at 2pm! Actress Anne Van Curen transforms into Emma "Grandma" Gatewood to describe what it was like to be the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955. 

? The AMC Mid-Atlantic office created 12 interactive Story Maps using data from the Land and Trails Tracking System to update the 2006 Highlands Conservation Atlas to include conserved lands, conservation areas, and historic and recreational resources, which includes the PA Highlands Trail.

? The Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club held a special workday on July 15, 2023. The purpose was to reroute a small section of the Appalachian Trail and build a temporary bridge.

? The 13th class of Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honorees has been announced and will be inducted on Sunday, September 10, 2023.

? A resolution was passed by the PA House promoting the study and elevation of Conservation Corridors. The study's goal is to catalog the area's wildlife, habitat, and conservation corridors in the commonwealth with the intent to provide data and recommendations on how and where more corridors can benefit the region.

? Celebrate 75 years of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail on Saturday, August 12th beginning at 10:30AM! Enjoy a full day of speakers and celebrations as the AT Museum dedicates it's new outdoor exhibit, Earl Shaffer's 1956 stone Darlington Shelter.

This email was sent to {{Recipient Email}}. Click here to unsubscribe.