Camp Hill, PA –The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF), the only non-profit whose mission is Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, along with Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the Friends of Laurel Hill, Ridge Runners, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, Laurel Highlands Ultra, Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau, and other friends and supporters rededicated the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The event was held on National Trails Day, June 2, 2018 at the Route 653 Shelter Area at 1:30pm
Speakers at the event shared the history of the trail and the efforts taken to conserve the trail for future generations.
“The restoration of the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail shelter areas was a collaborative effort through many organizations and individuals,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. “All shared a passion for this special place in our Commonwealth and a commitment to conserving it for generations to come.”
“How fitting that, on a day saluting our nation’s trails and those who have worked so hard to make them great, we gather here to recognize the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “DCNR is proud to be a partner in this longstanding effort that has made one of Pennsylvania’s great trails even greater.”
Built over forty years ago, these Adirondack style shelters provide a unique camping experience in a Pennsylvania state park. Yet time and wear have taken their toll, as chimneys crumble and fireboxes become unsafe. Over the past four years, with assistance from REI, the Laurel Highlands Ultra, the Friends of Laurel Hill, the Ridge Runners, PPFF, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, five of the eight shelter areas have seen their chimneys and fireboxes restored, with work on the final three to be completed in the Spring of 2018.
“Over the past 10 years we have made a focused and strategic reinvestment in this popular resource,” said Mike Mumau, Park Manager Laurel Hill State Park Complex. “This type of cooperative and collaborative effort provides inspiration. I sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to this project.”
On National Trails Day, volunteers and supporters began working on the next phase of the restoration project- tent site restoration and continued trail maintenance. This included retiring worn sites, building platforms in areas where level ground was difficult to find, and preparing areas for hammock camping. Following the rededication of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a group stayed on to participate in a four-mile round trip guided hike to one of the beautiful overlooks for which the LHHT is famous. All were invited to stay the night in the newly renovated Adirondack shelters.
For more information and photos of the day go to our website: https://paparksandforests.org/initiatives/laurel-highlands-hiking-trail-shelters-fund/re-dedication-celebration-6-2-18/