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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
arvense) is a noxious weed across most of the United States, including Pennsylvania. It is prolific and persistent, reproduces both vegetatively 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.
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.
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
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.
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
near the base and treating the fresh-cut stems with herbicide.
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.
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
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).
(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
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,
about the restoration programs, signs postings, and flyer distribution (Ross, 1997).
Fortunately for the Chicago restoration efforts, the proper public informational steps had
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
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.
NO OPEN FIRES!
This is a primitive trail not
suitable for handicapped persons.
Do not disturb nest or dens.
If you bring it in please take it
Disposal of human bodily
waste shall be accomplished only at
- Motorized vehicles are not
- Pack animals, including horses,
goats, and llamas are allowed.
- All edible berries, fruits,
and nuts found
along the LHHV Trail may be gathered by hand for personal consumption.
- All incidents resulting in
damage to property
in must be reported by persons involved to the CSA as soon as possible.
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.
or defacing of any
public property is not allowed. Creating graffiti on rocks or other
natural or manmade objects is not allowed.
on private property
along the Trail is not allowed. Camping or building fires on private property
is not allowed.
damaging, or disturbing
of vegetation, rocks, or other natural objects or artifacts is not
- If you
cause a fire, you are
legally responsible for all costs of fire suppression and property damage,
including any timber value.
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.
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.
Do not disturb the
environment by shouting or playing loud music. People go back to nature for the
peace it can offer.
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.
you know the local regulations regarding fishing/hunting before you do so. You
need a state license to fish or hunt.
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
Use insect repellent
to help ward off mosquitos and other insects.
- 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.