by Jeff Woleslagle
This week in July is recognized as National Forest Week. National Forests and Grasslands provide Americans with 193-million amazing acres of wildlands to explore. This includes more than 9,000 miles of scenic byways to drive, 150,000 miles of trails to hike, more than 4,400 miles of wild and scenic rivers, at least 5,100 campgrounds, and 328 natural pools to enjoy a swim in!
This year’s theme for National Forest Week, Forest Mode, encourages us to think about how we make the shift between the hustle and bustle of our daily lives to being present in the moment. What does it look like to be aware of the benefits that forests provide, even when we can’t be there ourselves? How can we savor the moment we are in?
For two summers while I was in college, I worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a research technician in Pennsylvania’s own Allegheny National Forest. Some of the early research I helped with was examining how different deer densities affected biodiversity in the forest. At that time, it was known to be the most actively managed national forest in the entire system and yet there was solitude and astounding beauty around every corner. I vividly remember stumbling onto a recently created beaver dam while doing survey work that was absolutely loaded with native brook trout. As soon as the weekend rolled around, I made the hike back in and caught some of the largest ones I had ever seen. I also remember hiking back to my truck thinking about just how special our national forests are.
You can find out more about National Forest Week and our National Forests and Grasslands by visiting: https://www.nationalforests.org/our-forests/national-forest-week
(Much of the Information for the Forest Friday came from the National Forest Foundation)
Forest Fridays are published weekly by the Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.