Loyalsock State Forest

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Loyalsock State Forest
Pennsylvania State Forest
Managed Resource Protected Area (IUCN VI)
Loyalsock Creek Cascades.jpg
Loyalsock Creek in Loyalsock State Forest in Sullivan County
Named for: Loyalsock Creek
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Counties Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan
 - coordinates 41°30′39″N 76°43′13″W / 41.51083°N 76.72028°W / 41.51083; -76.72028Coordinates: 41°30′39″N 76°43′13″W / 41.51083°N 76.72028°W / 41.51083; -76.72028
 - elevation 1,765 ft (538 m)
Founded 1929
 - Reorganized July 1, 2005
Managed by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Location of Loyalsock State Forest in Pennsylvania
Location of Loyalsock State Forest in Pennsylvania
Website : Loyalsock State Forest

Loyalsock State Forest is a Pennsylvania state forest in Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry District #20. On July 1, 2005, a reorganization of Pennsylvania State Forests in eastern Pennsylvania resulted in the creation of the "Loyalsock State Forest" and the elimination of the name Wyoming State Forest.

The District #20 main office was located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in Columbia County in the United States, and is still there as of September 2008. The office will be moved to Sullivan County, to Laporte Township. The new Resource Management Center is near completion and is anticipated to open in December 2008.


The state forests of Pennsylvania were formed as a direct result of the depletion of the forests of Pennsylvania that took place during the mid-to-late 19th century. Conservationists like Dr. Joseph Rothrock became concerned that the forests would not regrow if they were not managed properly. Lumber and Iron companies had harvested the old-growth forests for various reasons. They clear cut the forests and left behind nothing but dried tree tops and rotting stumps. The sparks of passing steam locomotives ignited wildfires that prevented the formation of second growth forests.

Conservationists feared that the forest would never regrow if there was not a change in the philosophy of forest management. They called for the state to purchase land from the lumber and iron companies, and the companies were more than willing to sell their land since they had depleted the natural resources of the forests.[1] The changes began to take place in 1895 when Dr. Rothrock was appointed the first commissioner of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, the forerunner of today's Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a piece of legislation in 1897 that authorized the purchase of "unseated lands for forest reservations." This was the beginning of the State Forest system.[1]

The history of the state forest goes back to 1929, when the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, a precursor to the modern Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, began purchasing land devastated by logging and wild fire to create Wyoming State Forest.[2] The state forest lands in Sullivan county (formerly the Wyoming State Forest) became part of the new Loyalsock State Forest, along with state forest lands in eastern Lycoming County (previously part of Tiadaghton State Forest) and Bradford County (previously part of Tioga State Forest). District #20 covers these three counties since the realignment.

Marcellus Shale Development[edit]

The Loyalsock Forest lies in the heart of the Marcellus Shale Fairway. Most of the natural gas rights owned by the Commonwealth under the forest have been leased by DCNR to drilling companies.[3] This includes Seneca Resources, a division of National Fuel. Seneca claims wells drilled in the area are highly productive.[4]

"Clarence Moore Lands" Controversy[edit]

Much of the remaining natural gas rights under the forest are owned by private parties. In particular, a region known as the "Clarence Moore Lands" has sparked controversy over ownership and access rights to the natural gas under this area.[5] Most of these disputed rights are believed to be owned[6] by the heirs of Thomas E. Proctor, who reserved them in an earlier deed. They are found to be owned outright in some areas ("Blue Tract")[7] and in conjunction with the successors of the United States Leather Company in others ("Yellow Tract").[8]

Neighboring state forest districts[edit]

The U.S. state of New York is to the north

Nearby state parks[edit]


High Knob Overlook[edit]

High Knob Overlook is a scenic vista located inside of the Loyalsock State Forest.[9] At 2,020ft above sea level, it is possible to see the mountain tops of seven counties.[9][10]

High Knob Overlook offers parking, free admission, bicycling, and 6.75 miles of trails for hiking.[9][11] Because High Knob is located in the rural area of Hillsgrove, PA, High Knob Overlook has a Bortle-rating of 3 (rural level light pollution) and it has its own Clear Dark Sky Chart.[12]

Panormama of the Loyalsock State Forest from the High Knob Overlook in Hillsgrove Township, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, United States. There is a relatively level horizon as this area is part of the dissected Allegheny Plateau.


Natural and wild areas[edit]

  • The Devils Elbow Natural Area, 404 acres (163 ha) with several small bogs, northern hemlock and hardwood forest
  • McIntyre Wild Area, 7,500 acres (3,035 ha) with four streams, numerous waterfalls


External links[edit]