Susquehannock State Forest is a large and very diverse foreest, full of many kinds of wildlife habitats and managements schemes.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Sunday, visitors can experience the woodlands first-hand through a forest management and habitat tour offered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Bureau of Forestry.
Friday is the last day to register.
The tour will begin at Lyman Run State Park, just west of Galeton.
Since 2008, the tour has been an important effort to allow the people who use state forests, have camps here or just are interested in habitat and forest management.
Troy Stimaker, district forester and tour speaker, said the event's goals are to observe and discuss some of the actual challenges in both sustainable forest and wildlife management, examine habitat improvements that are seen with the deer management plan, foster a better relationship with those who use the forest and exchange information that can be taken home and used.
Throughout the years, the tour has featured many parts of the 265,000-acre forest in Potter, Clinton and McKean counties.
"Moving the tour to different parts of the district allows us to emphasize the diversity and also demonstrate how the district staff manages these varying habitats in an effort to meet our management goals," Stimaker said.
This year it will focus mostly on the Lyman Run area of the district.
"We chose this area because we feel that it will allow us to see a wide array of forest and wildlife management activities and demonstrate the importance of good sustainable forest management," Stimaker said.
The tour's programs are made to appeal to a wide array of forest users. Stimaker said this year it will feature deer and habitat interactions to forest recreation (hiking, biking, ATVing, snowmobiling, camping), forest management techniques, local state park attractions and wildlife improvement projects.
"We hope to draw interest from many different user groups," he said.
The Bureau of Forestry works with other agencies in many of the management projects and representatives from those agencies will attend.
"This past winter we also did a woodcock and grouse habitat improvement project in conjunction with the state Game Commission in the area and would like to look at the area and discuss the importance of the different agencies working cooperatively," Stimaker said.
In addition to the Game Commission, the U.S. Forest Service will participate, along with others from areas of DCNR and the Bureau of Forestry.
"I think any of our state forests are good places for tours. The Bureau of Forestry is managing land owned by the residents of Pennsylvania and we need to give them every opportunity to both gain an understanding on why it is being managed the way it is and also to voice their concerns on how it is being managed. Forest management and habitat tours are just one avenue for this," Stimaker said.
He said the agency is very proud of the work it is doing inside the forest system.
The agency seeks comments from people who make use of the forest system on topics such as how it can improve.
"There is also a very long history of hunting camps and hunting in general in the northcentral part of the state. Interest has always been high in terms of how the forest is being managed and the effects it is having on wildlife," Stimaker said. "It is a very difficult balancing act, but we would like to show some of the work that we are doing and get some feedback from those using the state forest."
Transportation will be provided during the tour.
Registrations for the tour must be made by Friday by calling 814-274-3600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.