Coming soon: a brand-new, first-of-its-kind hiking guide to the PA Wilds! Plus, you can submit your favorite trails to be considered for the book!
We could not be more honored and excited to be working with PA Wilds on this project!
As the press release states, "Lace up your hiking boots! The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship has partnered with the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) to develop and publish a Pennsylvania Wilds-branded hiking guidebook for the Pennsylvania Wilds region."
Brook Lenker, KTA Executive Director, had this to say about the project under development: “KTA members have always valued the PA Wilds region because it is packed with some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful hiking trails. The mention of names like the Black Forest, Susquehannock, and Quehanna – just a few of the signature footpaths in the PA Wilds – evoke excitement and anticipation for so many hiking enthusiasts. For decades, our volunteer-driven Trail Care Program, now in its 40th year, has helped to maintain these and other area trails and we will soon be hiring a Regional Trail Care Rep in the PA Wilds. Needless to say, we’re honored and excited to be part of this project and promote these hiking gems!”
Read the full press release here:
The following testimony was offered by KTA's executive director 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.
Note: The PA Game Commission tabled the reintroduction plan. (1/29/24)
On Sunday December 3, 2023, KTA had the opportunity to show our appreciation (and that of hikers statewide) at the 1st Annual Trail Care Volunteer Celebration! We started with some pizza and other goodies while socializing and viewing photos from this year's work. Then, Manager of Trail Maintenance and Training, Jenn Ulmer, presented a slideshow with some stats and accomplishments and preliminary plans for next year.
We thankfully acknowledged 2023 Trail Care Volunteer Event Leaders and monetary donations to the Trail Care program. And then the fun part - recognizing those volunteers who went above and beyond and attended 3 or more events. Stay tuned for next year's schedule of Trail Care events for your opportunity to give back! Special thanks to Rock God Brewing Company for donating the staff and venue fees for our event.
Congratulations and thank you to the following volunteers, who received rewards in the form of patches or shirts:
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 the colors of fall on one of many Pennsylvania hiking trails, especially
those who attended the fall KTA Keystone HikeFest in Johnstown, PA. We want to thank our staff
who put in many hours planning the weekend and programs.
At our fall weekend the KTA Council met to approve the KTA 2023-2024 budget, elect new board
members Joanne Heimer, Julie Queen, Anthony Vigliano, and Jim Hyland and Officers President
Wayne Gross, Vice President Karen Lutz, Secretary Julie Queen, and Treasurer Anthony Vigliano, and
carry out other business. At the Annual Meeting the KTA membership elected the KTA
Representatives At Large to the Council for Fall Meeting 2023 to Fall Meeting 2025: Joyce Appel,
Katie Barker, Pradip Bhatnagar, Rita Black, Steve Black, Kathy Borrell, Chris Brubaker, Blase
Hartman, Patricia Huston, Ted Ligenza, Cyril Quatrone, and Donna Thompson. We want to extend
our thanks to Bob Merrill, Jack Hauler, and Ben Cramer for their service on the Board.
Of particular great news announced was the generous bequest by KTA member George Probst who
passed away earlier this year. The Board will be planning the best way to invest this gift for the long term to benefit the members, clubs, and Pennsylvania hiking opportunities in order to further our mission. His gift, like others who have donated to the endowment fund, on going donations, and other financial support help ensure hiking experiences throughout Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to all hiking award recipients and especially to Ingrid Cantarella-Fox for receiving the
KTA Citation Award for Lifetime Achievement at our Annual Fall Meeting. And a special thanks to
those who participated in our Trail Cares throughout the year.
It's not too early to start working on your hiking award to receive it at the Fall 2024 Keystone HikeFest.
In addition, throughout the coming year, please consider your fellow hikers and clubs for nomination
for Certificates of Achievement, Volunteer of the Year, Club of the Year, and the KTA Citation Award
for Lifetime Achievement. You can also plan to take on a 100-Mile Trail Challenge during the coming
Congratulations to Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy for being the winner of our roll call of the clubs at
our Annual Meeting for having the largest membership in attendance.
For the trails and those who wander on them!
Wayne E. Gross
President, Board of Directors
Keystone Trails Association
The Statewide voice of Pennsylvania Hikers
After summer, rainbow colored leaves and cooler temps invite hikers to return to the forest to experience Pennsylvania's trails in a whole new way. November naturally reminds us of gratitude and warmth among friends and family. Meet welcoming communities of outdoor enthusiasts by trying a group hike with Keystone Trails Association or a local Pennsylvania hiking or trail club!
Keystone Trails Association events:
ATV Impacts on PA Trails and Forests (in partnership with Sierra Club): Black Forest Trail
November 4, 2023 | Black Forest Trail
Join retired forester Bob Merrill for an easy hike on a portion of the beloved Black Forest Trail. Explore approximately four miles afoot while learning about the growing threat ATVs and UTVs pose to Pennsylvania’s public lands. Pack a lunch and plenty of water plus rain gear (just in case). Meeting location is the upper parking lot at the Tiadaghton District Office (10 Lower Pine Bottom Road, Waterville, PA 17776). After our meetup, we will caravan to the trailhead. You must wear orange!
Learn More & Register
Feeling Grateful for the Appalachian Trail? Join KTA for a Maintenance Day!
November 14-17, 2023 | Little Gap, PA
Kathy Corpora, KTA AT Corridor Monitor, and Garrett Fondoules of ATC are leading work days on the Appalachian Trail between Little Gap and Lehigh:
Tuesday, 11/14: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 11/15: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, 11/16: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday, 11/17: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
To register and learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate on which work day(s) you will be coming. Meet up will be at Little Gap PA Game Commission parking lot (40.806934, -75.534843).
National Take A Hike Day with KTA
November 17, 2023 | Fort Hunter Conservancy, Harrisburg, PA
Get outdoors for some fresh air, scenery, and exercise at Fort Hunter Conservancy! Join us for a strenuous, mountain hike ending with a picturesque view of the Susquehanna River. This program is part of the Park Rx series of programs sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield and in partnership with Dauphin County Parks and Rec.
Learn More & Register
Pennsylvania Hiking and Trail Club events:
In 1961, the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) instituted an annual Hiking Awards Program to recognize those hikers whose enjoyment of PA’s trails might serve as an example and inspiration to their peers. We were honored to continue this tradition at Hike Fest in Johnstown October 20-22, 2023.
Congratulations to these Award Recipients
Appalachian Trail Award (Applicant must have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania)
Merit Award (Applicant must have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania plus 200(+) miles on other designated trails.)
Pennsylvania Award (Applicant must have hiked 500 miles in Pennsylvania.)
Younger Hiker Award (12 and under) Applicant must have hiked
25 miles on any trail in Pennsylvania.)
100 Mile Challenge (Complete 100 miles(+) of PA hiking trails between 9/1 and 8/31 and receive at least $1/mile sponsorship per mile hiked)
Citation Award (...for Lifetime Achievement is presented to a person who has, over a period of years (not necessarily their entire lifetime), made significant contributions to the preservation of hiking trails and promoting hiking in Pennsylvania. Service may be in the form of volunteer efforts, publications, fieldwork, or any other pursuit that has furthered the mission of the KTA. This is KTA’s highest honor.)
Hike Fest was made possible by these generous community partners and sponsors:
Hikers are becoming increasingly curious about learning backpacking basics so they can enjoy an extended experience on the trail and PA hiking groups are stepping up to help!
If you've ever backpacked, you know that hiking with a backpack and going backpacking are not quite the same. Which is one of the reasons why day hikers can feel intimidated about going out for an overnight trip. Providing welcoming opportunities for hikers to learn backpacking skills in a friendly, safe environment can help people get off to a great start with their new backpacking adventures.
In the spring of 2023, KTA offered a Backpacking 101 course to hash out the differences between day hiking and backpacking. The course also covered selecting clothing, footwear, and gear (packs, sleeping bags, stoves, lights, stuff sacks, poles, tents), food preparation, campsite selection, potential dangers (ticks, waterborne diseases, bears, snakes), Leave No Trace, unique considerations for women, and more.
Leaders of this course were Jim Foster, Marian Orlousky and Ed Riggs. Jim and Ed are experienced backpackers who have backpacked the entire Appalachian Trail, as well as the John Muir Trail, the Quehanna Trail and others. Marian is Director of Science and Stewardship for Appalachian Trail Conservancy and an experienced backpacker. A few weeks after the course, the leaders offered to take the crew on a guided overnight trip to practice their new skills!
In October, we hosted another overnight backpack experience on the Loyalsock Trail (LT). This trip was led by Jenn Ulmer, KTA Manager of Trail Maintenance and Training. As the president of the Alpine Club of Williamsport, which takes care of the LT, Jenn is very familiar with the terrain and campsites and was happy to take people out on the trail! Together the group learned tips for organizing their packs, setting up their campsites, and preparing for all types of weather (it was a chilly weekend!).
Stay tuned! KTA is planning an Intro to Winter Backpacking trip in early 2024! Sign up for the newsletter to get notifications about this event.
With momentum building across the state, the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club is preparing for their first ever annual Treksylvania Backpacking Rally on May 4, 2024! During this event, participants will interact with and learn from experienced backpackers as they use typical gear to demonstrate the skills needed to get out on the trail. They'll find out how to purify water, cook food, pitch tents, hang hammocks and more! Attendees can talk to subject matter experts and get up to date on the latest best practices. This event will be hosted at BMECC's Rentschler Arboretum.
Maybe backpacking feels like too much for you right now but is something you want to work towards. We all begin somewhere - and that's okay! Try these tips for getting starting with hiking. If you're ready to start your backpacking journey, save the date for Treksylvania Backpacking Rally and stay tuned with KTA for more events, like our Intro to Winter Backpacking trip in early 2024!
We’re partnering with awesome local businesses and organizations to bring special deals, discounts, and offers to our KTA members!
Here’s what’s available to members right now:
How to access these deals
If you’re a current KTA member, you can access these offers by logging in to our member portal here:
If you’ve never signed in before, just click the “Having trouble logging in” link to create your password. Enter the email address you used when you became a member (likely the email address that receives our newsletter).
You’ll get an email with a link to create your password. Then, you can log in!
Once you’re logged in, click the “Member Only Special Offers” tab on the left sidebar to access the current offers.
Not a member yet?
Get access to these deals immediately when you become a KTA member!
This edition included a special dedication to Maurice Forrester, Jr. who was a long time editor of this guidebook in addition to his many other contributions to the success of KTA.
We wish to thank the Audobon for providing a Kittatinny Ridge Mini-Grant to the Keystone Trails Association to assist in the printing of this edition of the guidebook.
Wayne E. Gross
PA AT Guide Editor and
Chair, Publications Committee
Keystone Trails Association Introduces New “Trail Academy” Series of Education and Training Events [PRESS RELEASE]
KTA’s Trail Academy features webinars and in-person events hosted by outdoor industry leaders, conservation experts, and KTA staff to maintain safer trails, develop wiser hikers, and create happier forests.
[PRESS RELEASE] Mechanicsburg, PA: Keystone Trails Association’s new Trail Academy series features educational webinars and in-person training events to maintain safer trails, develop wiser hikers, and create happier forests. Events are hosted by Keystone Trails Association (KTA) staff members, outdoor industry leaders, conservation experts, and/or members of KTA.
“Our new Trail Academy is an effort to support each individual wherever they are in their hiking journey,” shares Brook Lenker, Executive Director of KTA. “It’s also a great opportunity to collaborate with and feature some of Pennsylvania’s incredibly talented conservation and outdoor recreation professionals.”
The Keystone Trails Association is a statewide organization committed to providing, protecting, preserving, and promoting hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.
“Because we serve the whole state, we regularly meet brand new hikers who are searching for a safe place to go on their first hike,” shares Holly Tritt, Manager of Communications and Membership at KTA. “At the same time, we’re connected to hikers and trail club leaders who have been hiking or maintaining trails for decades and are looking for ways to advance their skill set.”
KTA’s Trail Academy educational webinars and in-person training events are grouped into three categories of outdoor skills, maintenance and safety, and hiking topics. Sessions cover a variety of topics such as “What hikers need to know about invasive plants in PA”, “Wilderness First Aid”, “Hiking trails and road crossings”, and “Choosing a hiking trail”.
“Topics like Leave No Trace, invasive species, and trail care best practices are crucial for the health of our trails and the safety of hikers in PA,” shares Lenker. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to introduce these concepts to new hikers and to provide training for our members to continue providing excellent hiking experiences in PA.”
View KTA’s Trail Academy training events online at www.kta-hike.org.
Questions about KTA’s Trail Academy? Contact Holly Tritt, KTA Manager of Communications and Membership at email@example.com.
About Keystone Trails Association: The Keystone Trails Association offers a robust trail care program with volunteer opportunities available on PA trails, serves as the statewide voice of the hiking trail community and trail advocate in PA’s capital, and offers a wealth of hiking opportunities throughout the year that both long-time hikers and the next generation of hikers can enjoy together.
Keystone Trails Association