HARRISBURG, Pa., July 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The rugged beauty of the Sproul and Susquehannock state forests again will be showcased for hikers and other visitors when the three-day "Prowl the Sproul" series of hikes steps offFriday, July 22.
Marking its eighth year, the increasingly popular hiking program links forest visitors with guides from the Bureau of Forestry, Keystone Trails Association and local civic and sportsmen's groups.
"Hikers of all ages and abilities will find the perfect venue in thousands of mountainous, unspoiled acres," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan. "This invitation is extended by the folks who best know the two forest districts and the Pennsylvania Wilds."
At least 20 of the most popular trails in Sproul and the neighboring Susquehannock state forest districts have been selected to offer hikers a variety of terrain and scenery before "Prowl the Sproul VIII" events close Sunday, July 24.
Allan noted hikes are planned to waterfalls, overlooks, old railroad grades, and woodlands and flora that make Sproul and Susquehannock unique among the 20 state forest districts.
"There is no better way to be introduced to the joys of hiking than to have skilled, knowledgeable group leaders guiding you to some of the most scenic hiking areas in the state," Allan said.
"Prowl the Sproul is great for families and those new to hiking," said Keystone Trails Association Executive Director Curt Ashenfelter. "No matter what your fitness level, there will be hikes for everyone, from easy short hikes to difficult long hikes and numerous hikes in between. Descriptions of the hikes can be found on the Keystone Trails Association website."
Besides the KTA, DCNR's Bureau of Forestry is teaming up with the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association and greater Renovo Area Heritage Park Vision Project to introduce association members and the public to the wealth of hiking opportunities found in north central Pennsylvania.
Food and lodging options are available for the weekend, Ashenfelter said, but reservations must be made by July 7. Visit the KTA website - www.kta-hike.org - to download a registration form. For general information, contact Sproul State Forest District Office, 15187 Renovo Road, Renovo; 570-923-6011.
Guided hikes ranging from 4.5 to 10 miles offer hikers a variety of difficulty levels, terrain and scenery. This year, one new hike will be introduced and guides will lead hikers off the beaten path to see some of the lesser-known, natural jewels of the state forests.
Hikes include: a new "slackpack" challenge, led by Treks and Trails International, and taking 20 hikers almost 50 miles over the Chuck Keiper Trail in three days; a new outing on Boggs Ridge; the Nature Conservancy's West Branch Loop; Pat Reeder's Loop; Boone Road Trail Loop; Jack Paulhamus/Garby Trail; Keating Loop; Kettle Creek Day Loop; Chuck Keiper Trail (Bridge Loop); Chuck Keiper Trail (Cranberry Bog to Drake's Hollow);Chuck Keiper Trail (Drake's Hollow to Wildlife Refuge); Eddy Lick Loop; Cooks Run Loop; Twin Sisters Trail (in Hammersley Wild Area); Donut Hole Trail (Mitchell Loop); Donut Hole Trail (Tamarack to Merriman Hollow); Donut Hole Trail (eastern terminus to Oak Ridge Road); Eagletone Mine Camp Trail; andChuck Keiper-Yost Loop (a Pennsylvania Wilds destination trail).
Also, Craig Fleming and the Pa. Trail Dogs, sponsors of the Hyner View Challenge, will sponsor the fourth annual Prowl theSproul 10 K Hike/Run Saturday, July 23. This challenging course takes runners up the Little McCloskey Jeep Trail and down the Little McCloskey Hiking Trail. Visit www.hikerun.com for registration and other details.
Organized in 1956, KTA is a 1,100-member umbrella organization made up of 50 hiking and outdoors organizations in and around Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Wilds designation is designed to encourage the growth of tourism and related businesses in north centralPennsylvania. Its goal is to enhance the visitor experiences in this region, while protecting and conserving the land's treasured natural resources.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kta-hike.org.
Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources