Want to learn how to identify trees? On Sunday, November 20th come out for a hike with the DOC as we learn the secrets to tree identification. We will hike in and out for a total of 2 miles at an average pace over easy terrain off RT 325 on state game lands. Meet at the Holy Spirit Duncannon Center at 9:00 am. to carpool or alternately at 9:30 am. at the intersection of RT 225 and RT 325 (parking area – 40.38867,-76.94168). Call Paul at 648-8226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. For precaution purposes wear something orange.
This summer the Duncannon Outdoor Club planned a boating trip. Eight brave boaters tackled a very rough Susquehanna River from Marysville to West Fairview. High winds and water nearly swamped us as we headed from Blue Mountain Outfitters to the river left. The ledges and rocks were not visible due to the high water and whitecaps caused by the ever roaring wind. This resulted in one of the canoes capsizing, but other than a sudden dunking everything turned out okay. Once in between the islands the winds were dissipated and we were able to relax a little. All in all everyone had a great time, asking, “Can we do this again?”
When sheltered by the islands, we floated by Wade Island being careful to keep our voices down due to the nesting colonies of the endangered Great White Egrets, Black-Capped-Night Herons and the ever increasing, invading Double-crested Cormorants. Wade Island is a designated Pennsylvania Audubon Important Bird Area and is not open to the public, but can be observed by boat.
Many people are not aware that the Great White Egret is endangered, because they are a common sight in our area. However, there are only two nesting sites in PA. A small colony in York County on the Kiwanis Lake and the largest colony which inhabits Wade Island.
The Black-Crowned-Night Heron is also endangered and more illusive then the Great White Egret. Unfortunately the colonies of both these species have declined and continue to do so due to loss of habitat, water pollution, and nesting site disturbances. Such is the case of the Cormorant colony which has disturbed the nesting site, taking prime nesting spots, and damaging habitat on Wade Island by sheer numbers and nesting habits.
Cormorants used to be rare in this area, but have increased greatly in numbers over the years. It is believed that their increasing numbers are a result of expanding fish hatcheries in the south and a larger number of small fish in the Great Lakes. Cormorants nest high in trees or on the ground of islands. On Wade Island they take prime nesting habitat in trees limiting the sites for the Great White Egret and Black-Crowned-Night Heron. Feces fall in large amounts on those below and kills trees and herbaceous growth on the island. Cormorants also damage the trees when they collect nesting material. This was evident in our trip as we passed the island. This is unfortunate for the Great White Heron and Black-Crowned-Night Heron since they nest only in the trees. When all the trees die, the Cormorants are known to nest on the ground.
In 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2013 a number of Cormorants were culled by marksmen under the direction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. The chart below shows the results. Note the decrease in Great White Egrets (red) and Black-Crowned-Night Herons (blue) as the population of Double-Crested Cormorants (green) increased. Gaining Information regarding future culling was attempted from various sources without success.
Some people feel that we should not cull the Cormorants and let Mother Nature take her course. Others disagree believing that mankind made the changes responsible for the increasing number of these birds, and it is mankind who must remediate the results of their actions. What do you think?
Several members of the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community were among more than one hundred volunteers who helped facilitate Keystone Trails Association‘s eighth annual Super Hike. The Super Hike has been renamed the KTA Trail Challenge to more accurately reflect the efforts of over 400 trail runners who took to the hiking trails of York and Lancaster counties on a very hot and humid September tenth.
The 25 kilometer runners began at Susquehannock State Park and the 50K runners began at the Pequea Creek Campground. Both groups crossed the finish line at Otter Creek Campground where they were rewarded with, not only bells and whistles, but also medallions and t-shirts followed by a picnic supper. Hardy runners and trail hikers are encouraged to start training for next year’s KTA Trail Challenge.
Keystone Trails Association members and their friends are preparing for their fall membership meeting and hiking weekend which will be held October 13th thru the 16th at Whitehall Camp and Conference Center in Emlenton, Clarion County. Hiking will be a big part of the weekend as well as learning more about Grandma Gatewood, glass blowing, the Allegheny River, and the North Trail. Reservations are open through October 16th.
On Sat., Oct. 15th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) for a 2 mile average paced night hike through the wooded cross country trails behind Susquenita High School. The terrain is moderate to easy with a few short climbs. Stop at the abandoned cemetery for some scary stories told by Wilhalmina Dorotheea Roskabower Kaufman. Bring a sit upon if you wish to sit during the story telling. Bring flashlights or headlamps. Meet at the left side of the Susquenita High School Parking lot closest to the building at 7:00 pm. (309 Schoolhouse Rd. Duncannon – along 11/15) Call 395-2462 or email email@example.com to register.
Saturday, Sept. 24th is National Family Hiking Day. As part of the celebration, the Duncannon Outdoor Club is sponsoring a hike up to Hawk Rock and back for a total of two miles. While ascending the 700 ft. elevation, answer funny riddles that are posted along the way. Families are urged to attend this easy paced hike at one’s own level. Children are urged to attend. Afraid the little ones cannot make it to the top? No problem, take as many breaks as needed. If you feel it’s too hard a climb, turn around, no pressure. The goal is to get out as a family in the great outdoors! Meet at 9:00 am. at the Duncannon Family Health Center. Call Deb at 717-395-2462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
On Sat., Sept. 17th the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) will go on a night hike up Hawk Rock. Hike in and out for a total of two miles over moderate to strenuous terrain at an average pace. At the top take in the view of the lights of Duncannon by the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers. We will be learning about the elusive creature the porcupine. Meet at 7:00 pm. at the AT trailhead to Hawk Rock. Bring flashlights or headlamps. Call Patrick Walsh at 716-908-3676 or email email@example.com to register.
On Sat., Aug. 20th the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) will hike from Scotts Farm to Sherwood Drive and back for a total of 2 miles on easy terrain at an average pace. We will learn how to identify poison sumac and the three forms of poison ivy. Meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 9:00 am. or alternately at Scotts Farm at 9:30 am. Call Deb at 717-395-2462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
On Sat., July 16th the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) will hike two, 1 mile hikes at Big Spring State Park in Blain. Witness the dying giant Hemlocks in the Designated Natural Hemlock Area and then hike to an unfinished railroad tunnel. Both hikes are average paced over moderate to easy terrain. Learn about the Wooly Adelgid and how it is endangering out state tree, the Hemlock. Pack a lunch and bring water. Meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 9:00 am. to carpool. Please pay drivers 10 cents per mile for gas (80 miles total). Call Deb at 395-2462 or email email@example.com to register.
I’m alive and doin’ fine
Some of the hiking clubs participating in our 2016 Duncannon Appalachian Trail Festival will be leading their own hikes during the morning of the festival and they encourage you to join their clubs to experience hiking with their fellow club members. In addition to the private club hikes, the following local Duncannon hikes are open to the public until all available spaces are filled:
- Easy – 7:45 to 11:00 – Haldeman Island: In cooperation with the PA Game Commission, this is a leisurely 2.5 mile hike touring the abundant wildlife of Haldeman Island. Located near the confluence of the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers, access to Haldeman Island is usually restricted to provide sanctuary for a wide variety of native Pennsylvania birds, including the iconic Bald Eagle. Sign up early for this rare chance to enjoy an excellent hike lead by the extremely knowledgeable and informative retired PA Game Commission Land Management Group Supervisor, Scott Bills. This hike is limited to 20 people. Please contact DATC (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register. Where to park
- Difficult – 7:30 to 1:00 – Hawk Rock & Duncannon Tower Loop – Sponsored by the Day Hikers of Central PA, this is a brisk paced 11 mile hike over strenuous terrain with a 700 foot climb in the first mile. We will start and finish the hike at Tubby’s Nightclub and hike on the AT to Hawk Rock. Then we will go down a steep descent and visit the ruins of a lumber mill in the Duncannon Watershed that features a magnificent 50-foot high stone and brick tower (“The Stack”) that is still standing. Hiking poles will be helpful. You must contact the hike leader (email@example.com) at least two days before this hike to register. Where to park.
Please consider joining these hiking clubs that will be at the festival:
- Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association – Represents the AT long distance hiking community; helps AT Trail clubs; provides education about the AT, and serves as a focus for AT hiker camaraderie.
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy – Preserves and manages the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.
- Duncannon Outdoor Club – Non-profit volunteer organization providing monthly educational outdoor activities to all ages.
- Keystone Trails Association – Dedicated to providing, preserving, protecting and promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.
- Mountain Club of Maryland – Hiking and trail maintaining club.
- Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club – One of thirty-one groups maintaining the Appalachian Trail, organized to provide the opportunity to enjoy and learn about nature through outdoor recreational activities.
- York Hiking Club – Non-profit organization maintaining sections of the Appalachian Trail & the Mason-Dixon Trail System, and also offers hikes open to the community.