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Laurel Highland's Historical Village

LHHV Current Projects, Activities and Future Goals

About Us
LHHV Current Projects
Pennsylvania Country
Pictures Tell the story
Notable Historical Properties
Ethnic Help Links
Ethnic Connection
Children's Destination
Online Applications
Upcoming Events
Penn's Wood's Homeschooling
LHHV Forest Hiking Trail
Contact Us
Our Business Plan / Grant Information
Vending & Support Letters

A look at our task at hand and our projected goals ahead.

Education is a key element .....
For the sake of preserving our ethnic heritage we must consider the educational element.

We'd like to help you understand our task at hand, our goals, our mission.  Let's take a short walk down memory lane ... and a quick peek into the future.
  • WEB SITE DEVELOPMENT - We at last have a web site!  I am still hard at work, along with APT Computers, working to put it all together.  Please email a list of changes and/or additions you'd like to see.  I plan to include individual pages for each ethnic group - Polish, Russian, etc. and would like to assign one person per page for development.  If you have a particular country you would like to work on, please email me.  If you have information you would like added to any country's page, please email that to me as well.   
  • WALKING TOURS OF JOHNSTOWN - We will be taking over the Walking Tours of Johnstown, perhaps in the future adding a costumed escort for effect.  We also plan to bring back the once famous Ghost Tours, pointing out the areas in the city where paranormal activities have occurred.   We plan to work in conjunction with The Johnstown Tourism Board on developing and expanding this project. Any ghost stories you have would be appreciated. 
  • SWEETHEART / SINGLES DANCE - Sweetheart dance may return in fall 2015
  • FISHING DERBY - Plans are to hold a fishing derby for needy children at Hinckston Dam
  • IT TAKES A VILLAGE DONATION EFFORT - Our store was closed due to lack of sales.
  • BUILD THE VILLAGE - We have a big task ahead - build it and they will come.  This is the reason we are here.  
  • NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN POW WOW - We have received notice from our friends who perform Native American Dancing. Starting as early as this summer they would be willing to come in for a full weekend of Indian Ethinc Culture.  Still looking at this, for future event.
  • PENNSYLVANIA COUNTRY - Our new online newspaper is online, we need articles ... ethnic recipes ... pictures.  We'd appreciate anything you have! 
  • GOSPEL SING - We are hoping to pull together a Gospel Sing in 2014 at Hinckston Dam. Our goal is to have a one day Gospel sing on a Saturday, followed on Sunday by a joint church service at the lake. Gospel music has long been a part of our ethnic heritage, with its roots reaching back to the birth of our nation.
  • Hinckston Project
  • Honan Ave Community Hiking and Biking Trail is almost finished with a grand opening set for the spring of 2015
  • LHHV Mountain - We are working with the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority to acquire the small mountain behind the Stone Bridge
  • Unexplained events day will be held again in August of 2015

Conceptual Summary

All of these elements combine to create a unique entertainment and educational experience for people of all ages. The Laurel Highland’s Historical Village projections and marketing strategies, as well as funding

criteria and requirements, are included in a detailed Business Plan available upon request.   Our goal is attainable due to the vast amount of dollars being allocated to non profit organizations with such dreams and vision. It’s also going to be home for thousands of children throughout the year, as they seek additional support in after school needs.


                                        SHORT TERM GOALS

  1. Bike Trail:  Even though it’s not part of the said property, a biking trial which will not only provide family members with an enjoyable view, but offer the city of Johnstown to expand it’s heritage project. The bike trail will run from the current Johnstown Heritage site, running north along the old Hinkston Run Road, reaching the water fall at Water Fall Road. The trail then will split in two parts, one part staying on the western side of the dam, and rounding out on Benshoff Hill Road, then circling around the Dam. The other trail will head east crossing the dam then heading north along the shore line of the dam itself. The trail will then end up on 271, where by the trail will turn south towards Johnstown, reaching the other end of Hinkston Run Road, where by cyclist will turn right on to this road which will return them to the Dam.

2. Wildlife Trails at Hinckston Dam and Honan Ave

                                         The LHHV Forest

The LHHV  Experimental Forest, located 10  miles north of Johnstown, in Middle Taylor township, will offer quiet refuge to all who seek the natural enchantment of a forest experience. Tucked away in the heart of the Hinkston Run Dam , the Forest is bordered on its Western ridge boundaries by the Hinkston Dam and the Hinkston Dam  Wildlife Management Area.


The LHHV Forest is a 320-acre tract consisting of approximately 220 acres of mature bottomland hardwood with the remainder being southern pine and mixed pine/hardwood forest. Part of the Forest, will be administered by the LHHV through its Wildlife Habitat and Penn’s Wood’s  Laboratory in Penn State university.

Since its adoption into the Awareness of  Forest Protection System, will be the primary objective of this experimental forest to aide and study wildlife and forest management research. The site will also be used as an outdoor classroom in the study of forest ecosystems for students majoring in forestry, wildlife management, forest recreation, and environmental science and much more.

Completion is planned for the summer of 2014, the Forest's innovative interpretive trail system represents the commitment of the volunteers to meet the changing needs and perspectives of society. Unique in its concept and design, it features the first major trail in this region designed and constructed for universal accessibility. Two separate loops, spanning a distance of 2.8 miles, take visitors into some of the most dynamic and scenic areas of the Forest.

 Sleepy Hollow is a cool, clear, spring-fed perennial stream which serves as the centerpiece for this loop. Traversing gentle slopes along the banks of the creek, this barrier-free, 0.8-mile-long surfaced trail provides universal access to a mature mixed forest where pines and hardwoods still stand stalwart against the rush of modern time.


The rich, moist soils along the creek support diverse vegetation dominated by hardwoods. The large, old trees in this area offer the visitor a soothing environment for exercise as well as opportunities for quiet reflection and relaxation. Since these trees also provide cover and food, which support many species of birds and mammals, wildlife viewing (especially birding) is an inherent part of the unobtrusive visitor's experience.


Management Loop

As environmental issues become increasingly a part of public awareness and concern, the LHHV Volunteers is taking the initiative to provide and promote conservation education. Experiential learning opportunities offered in a living outdoor classroom are geared toward fostering respect for our forest resources and appreciation of sound management principles. The Management Loop will be dedicated to the demonstration of the best management practices for both timber and wildlife. Winding 2.0 miles through five different units of the Forest, this loop will provide visitors a chance to view an array of forest management practices at various stages of process. Not just a path through the Forest, the trail is like a corridor through time. Integrated into the management objectives for each different area, it will permit visitors to witness firsthand the forest's response to various treatments across the years. Visitors may also observe wildlife while learning about a variety of forest habitats.

                                      General Information

Approximately one half of the more than 300 species of birds which are common to western Pennsylvania are found in the various habitat types on the Forest. More than 80 species of butterflies add color and quiet beauty, while the anticipation of catching a glimpse of one of the roughly 30 indigenous mammals makes each visit exciting for wildlife lovers.

The changing climate of our region permits a few short months of which to  use  the trail and invites visitors to appreciate the special beauty each season brings. The trail will be open to the public daily during daylight hours for wheelchair and foot traffic only. Binoculars and cameras can enhance lasting memories. Visitors must  bring their own water and Insect repellent is advised from May through September.  Shaded picnic tables will be provided. Accessible restrooms will be provided. Pets must be kept on a leash. Firearms are prohibited. The LHHV Loop has a moderate difficulty rating, while the Management Loop offers a more challenging and strenuous walk. Interpretive materials are available for self-paced, self-guided tours, or special arrangements can be made for conducted group activities.


3. Amphitheater:  The Kochcha’ Aabiniili’ (“outdoor seating”) Amphitheater is the place where our culture lives day to day among our people and our guests.

The 320-person tiered performance area wil hosts a variety of communal activities: lectures, plays, storytelling, crafts like bow-making, cultural ceremonies and many of our outdoor tours begin here in this central meeting place.

The amphitheater will also hosts the Native American National Dance Troupe and the Intertribal Dance Troupe and star stories at night, living history performances, and concerts from native American musicians. Also showing an intrest musical groups from various ethinc communities, ie Tammies, Nationial Polish Dancers and area High School Bands and Choirs.

This amphitheatre will be located near  the dam , and offers a spectacular view of the lake. It is designed for interpretive talks, and will support popular  recreation events.


 This project is a comprehensive design masterplan and ecological rehabilitation plan for an 300 acre renewable forest tract. The client, Laurel Highlands Historical village INC, seeks to recreate this site – called LHHV Forest – as a regional showcase for ecological rehabilitation and environmental education. This includes passive protection of wetlands, and accelerated succession of forest regeneration and habitat enhancements, site access enhancements, as well as educational signage and program development.

We visited the site on various occasions, during which we mapped topography, measured slopes and site layout, evaluated existing vegetation, conducted a site features inventory, studied aesthetics and viewsheds, and took numerous photographs. We conducted a public survey of visitors’ impressions and use patterns following a preliminary design presentation and public meeting.

Additionally, we suggest a framework for an effective educational program and catalog important public access improvements. All of this information is integrated into a “50-year vision of LHHV Forest.



                                 Loss of Native Biodiversity

Prior to European arrival, southwestern Pennsylvania’s abundant waters, forests, and wild game had supported native peoples at least for the past 12,000 years. This region was largely occupied by the Monongahela, Shawnee, Seneca, Delaware, and Susquehannock cultures

(Alberts, 1980). However, as European settlement intensified, particularly with the discovery of abundant coal seams in the mid 18th century, the region’s land use patterns began to rapidly

change (LCCRCP, 2002). Western Pennsylvania was literally and figuratively at the headwaters of an industrial revolution and no existing legislation would ensure a responsible process of development; consequently, the composition of western Pennsylvania’s

indigenous people, plants, and wildlife was irrevocably altered. Reports by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) in 1994, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) in 2005, urge that preservation and restoration of native biodiversity is critical to the repair of

ecosystems throughout the state and region (WPC, 2004, PGC, 2005). Given the elevated visibility which will occur as implementation of the LHHV Forest master plan proceeds, a concerted ecological rehabilitation program would raise public awareness of, and appreciation for, the endangerment and value of regional native biodiversity.


Management of Invasive Species

The removal of invasive species at LHHV will certainly be one of the most important precursors to long-term ecosystem rehabilitation. The management of invasives must be individually tailored both by species and by the type of plant community they impact.

lists the most common and most troublesome invasives.


Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) can be identified in its first year by its large basal rosette of fern-like foliage, and in its second year by the emergence of a large white-flowered umbel. According to The Nature Conservancy (1989), poison hemlock is a low management

priority primarily because it is easily controlled if hand pulled prior to flowering. Due to its toxicity to grazing animals, it is mostly a high concern in pastures. This plant occurs at WPCA in scattered

locations and removal should be focused on second year plants, when the fruiting stalk becomes conspicuous but before it is mature. We do not recommend using herbicide on this plant, because hand pulling is cheaper and more appropriate in the wet meadows where it is

most common.

Canada thistle (Circium arvense) is a noxious weed across most of the United States, including Pennsylvania. It is prolific and persistent, reproduces both vegetatively and sexually, and is extremely difficult to kill. This species occurs at WPCA around the upland pool area,

where it appears to be only recently established. It is a very high management priority, because controlling these plants before they begin to produce seed is critical to management success. The seeds are wind-dispersed; therefore this plant could easily and rapidly spread across the

wetlands on site, after which it would be virtually impossible to eradicate. We recommend the application of herbicides as detailed in Beck (2006). Additionally, the isolated area of lawn within the filled pool, because it is densely colonized, might benefit by mid-summer sterilization

with a heavy grade black plastic tarp following soil saturation during a hot spell.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a high management priority because it is difficult to remove and has the potential to become more pervasive, especially beneath the upland wooded areas. In areas of sufficient fuel, it can be reduced by prescribed burns; however, the current infestation is mostly within a matrix of non-native grasses, which remain somewhat green through the winter and probably will not effectively burn. Extensive hand-pulling by large volunteer groups is likely the best method of control for WPCA, but the use of herbicide should Reinventing

This would best be done when the basal rosettes are still green, and other native species have gone dormant. They will then be highly visible. Finally, planting native plants in areas of infestation should also help slow its spread. Long-term management often needs to be repeated up to ten years until the seed bank is exhausted.

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is an extremely high management priority at LHHV. It has the potential to halt desirable forest succession by excessively shading native tree seedlings, and generally crowds the forest understory. Because the seeds are bird dispersed, LHHV could act as a source from which the species can spread to other high-quality uninfested natural areas. The plant is somewhat abundant at LHHV and should be treated by cutting the plants near the base and treating the fresh-cut stems with herbicide.

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is another high management priority at LHHV. It is present in upland areas of both sun and shade, where it aggressively over-runs large areas of ground (especially along the top and east side of the levee). Where sufficient fuel is

present, regular prescribed burning will effectively control this species, but fall herbicide treatment at the base of cut stems is also recommended.

Teasel (Dipsacus sp.) is a relatively low management priority at LHHV, although

infestations are currently quite pervasive. Where sufficient fuel is available, prescribed burning can help reduce the population, but in the short term might encourage the germination of seeds that are not killed in the fire. Because the plant is biennial, it can be somewhat easily

controlled in small natural areas by cutting the second year stems immediately prior to flowering. The plants will not reflower, but will die. The plants are highly prolific, so this will probably be necessary across years until the seed bank is exhausted. If the plants are cut after flowering, it is important to remove the cut material because immature seeds have proven viable. For more information, see Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (2004).

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is a noxious weed across many states, including Pennsylvania. For this reason it is a high management priority. Stems should be cut and herbicide treated during the dormant season and where sufficient fuel is available, can be further controlled by prescribed burns.


Education is also important for informing the public about the rehabilitation process. As these efforts begin, the current state of LHHV will change and neighbors and frequent visitors might become concerned if they are not adequately informed about the reasons for these changes. A successful prairie restoration program in Chicago, for example, was halted after 19 years of work because the public began to feel left out of the process, as though restorationists were purposefully hiding their efforts. In reality, information had been provided throughout the entire process, which included tours, slide shows, wildflower identification classes, newspaper articles about the restoration programs, signs postings, and flyer distribution (Ross, 1997).

Fortunately for the Chicago restoration efforts, the proper public informational steps had been followed. The important lesson learned from this would-be controversy, however, is to simply involve the public from the outset not only by providing information, but by including them in decision making and especially, providing opportunities to participate in restoration activities. It is also important that stakeholders see the innate value of rehabilitation efforts. The Society for Ecological Restoration recommends fostering the public’s support by helping them

realize how restoration efforts can benefit them personally. Such benefits could include, for example, a destination for ecotourism that will support local business or environmental educational opportunities for local schools. If the value is clear, the community will be more

likely to support these efforts (Society for Ecological Restoration, 2005). The benefits of rehabilitating LHHV are many and can be effectively revealed in a new educational program.

Hiking Rules For LHHV Forest Trail

Some of the most invigorating and peaceful times of your life can be spent hiking the trails on LHHV Forest Trails. From the rugged overlook Trail in the Southeast section, to the wooded ravines  in  the Northwest section and waterfalls along trails , to the swampy and fascinating   Conservation Area in back of reservoir, we offer you a boundless variety of hiking experiences. All the wonders all within a 3 mile trail that surrounds the reservoir.


  2. This is a primitive trail not suitable for handicapped persons.

  3. Do not disturb nest or dens.

  4.  If you bring it in please take it home.

  5. Disposal of human bodily waste shall be accomplished only at sanitary facilities.

  1. Motorized vehicles are not permitted.
  2. Pack animals, including horses, mules, burros, goats, and llamas are allowed.
  3. All edible berries, fruits, and nuts found along the LHHV Trail may be gathered by hand for personal consumption.
  4. All incidents resulting in damage to property in must be reported by persons involved to the CSA as soon as possible.

  1. We encourage the buddy system; avoid hiking alone. Hike in a Group consisting of at least two fellow hikers. In case of an accident, one person will then be able to stay with the injured while the other goes for help.

  1. Littering or defacing of any public property is not allowed. Creating graffiti on rocks or other natural or manmade objects is not allowed.
  2. Trespassing on private property along the Trail is not allowed. Camping or building fires on private property is not allowed.
  3. Removing, damaging, or disturbing of vegetation, rocks, or other natural objects or artifacts is not allowed.
  4. If you cause a fire, you are legally responsible for all costs of fire suppression and property damage, including any timber value.

  1. If you plan to take your dog along for your hikes then make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times, unless training dog under state game laws.

  2. Stay on the trails and do not go wandering off. By using the trails, you ensure that you will not further disturb nature and it will minimize the chances of getting lost.

  3. Do not disturb the environment by shouting or playing loud music. People go back to nature for the peace it can offer.

  4. If you notice any damage to the trail or trail signs, make sure to note down the exact location and notify LHHV office. Damaged or destroyed trails or trail signs can cause serious difficulties for other hikers.

  5. Make sure you know the local regulations regarding fishing/hunting before you do so. You need a state license to fish or hunt.

  6. Make sure to be well-equipped for your intended hike and Terrain/Weather conditions. Take enough food and drinks for your intended hike. You may also bring more if you want. Stay on designated hiking trails.

  7. Use insect repellent to help ward off mosquitos and other insects.

  1. Be sure to protect yourself from wood ticks, carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and deer ticks, carriers of Lyme disease. Deer ticks thrive in woods and fields with tall, dense grass. Apply insect repellent, suited for warding off deer ticks, as directed. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, button your collar and stuff your trouser cuffs into the tops of your socks. Wear light-colored clothing to better see if any ticks have attached to your clothes. Examine your clothing and skin frequently for ticks and also check your pets. Ticks prefer warm, moist areas, so pay particular attention to inspecting your groin, armpits and scalp. Carefully remove any attached tick immediately with tweezers. You may also want to preserve it in a small bottle of alcohol should symptoms appear later. Symptoms can be flu-like and some victims suffer a red, bull's-eye-like rash with a clear center around the site of a tick bite. Not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease, but if you suspect you've been bitten, contact your doctor. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, and patients can recover fully if treated early.



Our Founding Fathers.....
Native American Indians were here long before the white man. Let us not forget their ethnic roots.

Native Americans showing their respect
The savage man as they were once called, today their very exsistance is questioned.

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