Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Furnace State Park This page is the official page for Greewnood Furnace, Whipple Dam, and Penn-Roosevelt State Parks. This Page is the official page for Greenwood Furnace, Whipple Dam, and Penn-Roosevelt State Parks.
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Operating as usual

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY – 11/11 – In our nature postings we usually stay with native wildlife or wildflowers. This time we ...
11/12/2020

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY – 11/11 – In our nature postings we usually stay with native wildlife or wildflowers. This time we will be featuring an introduced species. Wait a minute, doesn’t that make it an invasive species? The answer is, not necessarily. There are numerous introduced species that don’t adversely affect the environment. Those that are aggressive and crowd out native species are usually classed as invasive. Think of an introduced species as a naturalized citizen, a person born in another country, and becomes a citizen of our country. Many of the more well-known introduced species in our parks include Norway and Colorado Blue Spruce trees.

This time, we will feature a woody plant usually thought of as a tree, though it grows more as a woody shrub. This is the Spindle-tree (Euonymus spp.) They can grow about 20 feet tall, and a similar size in width. They tend to grow in a round ball-like shape. They flower in the fall as the leaves are dropping, and add a splash of color to late fall. Though there is a native American Spindle-tree (E. americanus), it grows mostly as a wild plant. Of more historic interest is the European Spindle-tree (Euonymus europaeus).

Throughout most of the year, they grow in the understory, blending in with their environment. But in the fall, the flower and fruit matures into a brilliant crimson red foliage. The orange-colored berry forms inside a sheath, which splits into four lobes, giving the plant its nickname “hearts-a-bustin’.” It is sometimes also called a “burning bush,” as its bright crimson color evokes images of the “burning bush” from the Bible.

Today, spindle-trees are plants as ornamentals, but in the past, they were useful for another use, and a clue is in their name. The wood of the European variety is very hard, and can be sharpened to a knife-like point. This led to its use as a spindle for spinning wool. It was also useful for making wood butcher skewers. Additionally, artist like charcoal sticks made from its wood as it is more dense and stronger than other charcoals. Its yellow wood is used for making musical instruments and colored inlays. And finally, its scientific name, Euonymus, comes from two Greek words meaning, “good luck!”

HISTORY ON FRIDAY – 11/7 – This is the fifth post on the series on local CCC camps. This week we will feature the Martin...
11/06/2020

HISTORY ON FRIDAY – 11/7 – This is the fifth post on the series on local CCC camps. This week we will feature the Martin’s Gap CCC Camp S-112, in Huntingdon County.

CCC History Lesson – One of the interesting jobs for a select few CCC members in Pennsylvania was as “Emergency Educators.” In the summer of 1933, a total of 19 men were educated through a two-week program at the Pennsylvania State College (now PSU), and were then stationed at 16 state parks that existed at the time. While the program was a success, it faded into the background the next year, and it is uncertain how many remained in the later years of the CCC.

The Camp – The Martin’s Gap camp was organized in June 16, 1933, as Company 1310, soon chanced to 1381. On June 26, 1935, half of the company was transferred to the Bell Furnace Camp S-58, near Mount Union, as new Company 2335. A couple years later, the camp was closed on December 15, 1937, with the company was transferred to the Owl’s Gap Camp S-60 near Whipple Dam State Park. One corps member of this camp, Elwood Garner, became an Emergency Educator at Greenwood Furnace and Whipple Dam State Parks.

Cosmic Fireworks: Leonids Meteor Shower Walk - Saturday, November 14, 6 pm to 8 pm - Meet at Pavilion 1 (near Ballfield)...
11/06/2020

Cosmic Fireworks: Leonids Meteor Shower Walk - Saturday, November 14, 6 pm to 8 pm - Meet at Pavilion 1 (near Ballfield)

Come and join us for a cosmic fireworks show - the Leonids Meteor Shower. Meet at Pavilion 1, near the Ballfield. Also known as “shooting stars” or “falling stars,” meteor showers are one of nature’s wonders. The meteors of the Leonids are debris from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle. As the Earth passes through the debris trail, some are pulled into the atmosphere, where they burn up, causing a streak across the sky. While the peak of the Leonids in in the early morning hours of November 14 and 21, we should see a few per hour during our watch. As an added bonus, discover how the Leonids are woven into the early history of Greenwood Furnace. Allow 2 hours for the program. Please, dress for the weather, as we will be taking short, easy walk in the area to view the sky, and maybe hear some wildlife as well.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all park programs are limited to 35 participants. Call the park office at 814-667-1800 to guarantee spot up to limit. Walk-ins welcome on first-come, first-served basis if space is still available at program start time. Mask or face covering is required. Please bring hand sanitizer, and social distancing is in effect.

WILDFUNGUS WEDNESDAY – 11/4 – Ok, take a guess? What can grow to the size of a basketball overnight, is used as a pizza ...
11/05/2020

WILDFUNGUS WEDNESDAY – 11/4 – Ok, take a guess? What can grow to the size of a basketball overnight, is used as a pizza crust in a northern Pennsylvania restaurant, looks like a giant toasted marshmallow, and makes you think of a magic dragon? It is also commonly found in meadows, forests and along roadsides. It suddenly appears from nowhere, like some pixie conjured up some magic. So, let’s cue the music, “Puff, the Giant Mushroom, lives in the woods…”

Yes, we are having some fun here with the Giant Puffball mushroom (Calvatia gigantean). It is a real mushroom that can appear seemingly overnight. But in reality, it has been there all along, in the ground, growing. In late summer or fall, it forms a fruit, which can grow very fast, usually to 8 to 12 inches in diameter, but can grow bigger. How big, do you ask? Read on!

As it develops, spores grow inside, and with the slightest brush, it can explode in a cloud of spores. How many? Well, it is estimated the average size puffball contains over 7 trillion spores. Written out, that’s 7,000,000,000,000! To give some more perspective, the United State Federal budget for 2020 is $4.79 trillion dollars. If we took that amount and purchased the spores and nothing else, each spore would cost $1.46!

Giant puffballs are edible when they are immature. They should be snow white inside. But just a word of caution. You should always use expert advice when eating anything wild. Many time, an edible plant can resemble a poisonous one. In this case, giant puffballs can resemble earthballs (Scleroderma citrinum), which are poisonous.

So where does the pizza come in? Well, Driftwood, Pennsylvania holds an annual mushroom festival in the fall, and a restaurant in town is renowned for their puffball pizza, where they slice giant puffballs and use it in place of the crust. And for the final point…The largest ever recorded giant puffball mushroom was measured at 8 feet, 8 inches in diameter, and weighed 48 pounds. Wow! That’s one large Puff! Ball that is!!!

First three photos by Park Manager Mike DInsmore. Others in park files.

HISTORY ON FRIDAY – 10/30 – This is the fourth post on the series on local CCC camps. This week we will feature the East...
10/30/2020

HISTORY ON FRIDAY – 10/30 – This is the fourth post on the series on local CCC camps. This week we will feature the East Licking Creek CCC Camp S-56, in Mifflin County. It was one of 30 African-American camps in Pennsylvania.

The CCC program was designed for young men, who represented a high unemployment group. For African-American men, it was even worse in terms of unemployment. The act establishing the CCC expressly forbid discrimination based on race, creed, or ethnicity. However, segregation was still acceptable policy, as long as the separate facilities and other parameters were equal. This policy was based on the Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court Decision of May 18, 1896. Enrollment of blacks in the CCC was capped at 10%, equal to the percentage of African-Americans in the general population, thought it was not adjusted for state differences. While many states took steps to reduce black enrollment, Pennsylvania worked to maximize it, within the restrictions they had to work with.
Statewide, there were 30 black camps out of a total of 153, and there were camps existing through the entire life of the program. They were paid the same as all enrollees, $30 a month, and given the same equipment. Locally, there were three black camps during the CCC years, and they were welcomed into the local communities.

The camp itself was established on May 6, 1933, and was one of the first two black camps opened that day in PA. The camp was located on the south side of Shade Mountain, near Wynn Gap. It was originally called the East Licking Creek camp, and was designated S-56. The camp would later be renamed Camp New Deal. The camp was occupied by CCC Company 314-C, which was organized at Fort Meade in April of 1933.

Unlike most camps, the boys built this camp. There was a lot of blighted American Chestnut, so the buildings were built from Chestnut logs, rather than the tarpaper covered frame buildings typical of most camps. The company did a lot of forestry work, and helped to fight forest fires. The camp closed on January 16, 1936, when the company was disbanded. Most of the logs from the buildings were repurposed for other uses, but a couple survive as cabins today.

Greenwood Furnace State Park's cover photo
10/28/2020

Greenwood Furnace State Park's cover photo

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY – 10/29 – In the “spirits” of Halloween, we feature a plant that sometimes makes one think of the h...
10/28/2020

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY – 10/29 – In the “spirits” of Halloween, we feature a plant that sometimes makes one think of the holiday. We are talking about Witch Hazel the plant, not a popular cartoon character from Disney or Looney Tunes cartoons. Obviously, the cartoon characters take their names from the plant. But, was it historically associated with witches, thereby earning its name. Read on to find out! Not only that, how many of you have a bottle tucked away for years in a dusty corner of your medicine cabinet?

There are four species native to North America, and one each in Japan and China. The North American species variously blooms from mid fall to late winter, earning it its nickname “Winterbloom.” For this post we will be featuring the specie Hamamelidacaeӕ virginiana. The Witch-Hazel is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 25 feet tall. The oval leaves are alternates, and are between 2 to 6 inches long and up to 4 inches wide. This species blooms in the fall, which persists well into the winter. Most of the other species don’t bloom until later in the winter. An unusual feature of this plant is that the golden flowers emerge next to the fruit of the previous year. Its genus name is Hamamelis, which means “together with fruit,” noting this oddity. As the flowers bloom, the fruit ejects its seeds explosively, sending them as far as 30 feet from the shrub. This ejecting of the seeds earns the Witch Hazel another name, “Snapping Hazel.”

In addition to their use as an ornamental shrub, Witch Hazel is well known as a folk medicine. The leaves and bark are used to make a topical astringent, for the treatment of skin rashes and irritations. Unlike many folk remedies, there is strong scientific clinical evidence supporting these uses, but don’t just take our word for it. Always discuss its use with your doctor first to be safe. Even more interesting, it is one of a few medicinal plants FDA approved for use in non-prescription drugs.

The Native Americans used Witch Hazel as a medicine for centuries before European contact. They may have been attracted to the golden flowers in the winter. In New England, the Puritans learned of its use and adopted it. Missionary Dr. Charles Hawes determined it had therapeutic properties, and the best way to extract it was through distillation. A local druggist used Hawes’ process to first produce an extract in 1846. The most famous brand, Dickinson’s, began in 1866, when Everett E. Dickenson refined Hawes’ process to produce Witch Hazel commercially, and is still sold today.

So, how did Witch Hazel get its name? Well, it wasn’t from witches. The “Witch” comes from the Middle English word wiche, which in turn derives from the Old English word wice, which means “bendable.” But it may have another “witchy” connection. Tradition says early colonists observed the native peoples using the twigs to find water. Today, dowsers still use the “Y” shaped twig of the Witch Hazel as a divining rod, in search of underground water, in a process known as “water witching!”

Photos by Park Ranger Louis Knabel. Product and character names mentioned are for historical context purposes only and do not imply endorsement.

CANCELLED - HALLOWEEN IN THE PARK - Due to updated COVID restrictions and low enrollment, we have decided to cancel this...
10/28/2020

CANCELLED - HALLOWEEN IN THE PARK - Due to updated COVID restrictions and low enrollment, we have decided to cancel this event.

The leaves are still gorgeous. Come out to the park this weekend for the grand natural finale.  The Blacksmith Shop will...
10/23/2020

The leaves are still gorgeous. Come out to the park this weekend for the grand natural finale. The Blacksmith Shop will be open Saturday and Sunday 1 pm to 4 pm.

Although much of the northern half of the commonwealth is fading or past peak, vivid fall color has arrived for our southern state parks.
🍂🍁

Learn more in DCNR's week 5 #PAFallFoliage report ➡️ http://bit.ly/2OCvs8C #FallinPA

HISTORY ON FRIDAYS – 10/23 – This is the third installment on local CCC camps. This week we are featuring the Seager Far...
10/23/2020

HISTORY ON FRIDAYS – 10/23 – This is the third installment on local CCC camps. This week we are featuring the Seager Farm camp S-59. It was located at what is now the Alan Seeger Natural Area, and was also known as the Alan Seeger Camp and the Greenwood Furnace camp. Before we talk about the camp, lets explore some of the history of the site.

In the 19th century, what is now the Alan Seeger Natural Area was a farm, with stands of virgin hemlock next to the farm. By the 20th century, a Seager family owned the farm. The forests locally were being heavily logged during that time. In 1906, the Commonwealth purchased the land as it was considered inaccessible. In 1921, the area was preserved as the Alan Seeger State Forest Monument. Alan Seeger was a young American poet who was killed in World War I while serving in the French Foreign Legion. He has no known connection to the site, and is not related to the Seager family who had the farm.

In 1926 the Penn State College (now Penn State University) leased the old farm and established a Nature Study Camp for students. In addition to using the farm’s house and barn, several buildings were built. They also planted experimental forests on many sections of the farm. The camp was closed when the CCC camp was established. We’ll publish a more detailed post on the pre-CCC period at a later time.

Camp S-59 was established on May 6, 1933, with CCC company 308 occupying the camp. The camp used some of the Nature camp buildings. They performed a lot of forestry work, and were the first of three camps to develop Greenwood Furnace State Forest Park. The camp closed on October 31, 1935, when the company was transferred to SCS-9, a new Soil Conservation Service camp near Todd, in southern Huntingdon County.

10/23/2020

Holiday Open House – 10/21 – It is with regret that we will not be holding the Holiday Open House this year. Due to the COVID restrictions for state parks, we are limited to a small number of people for an indoor program, including staff and volunteers, and large events like this are not permitted to take place at least through the end of the year. We plan to be back with the event in 2021. Hope you and your family have a good holiday season this year. Stay safe.

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY - 10/21 - Another round of fall shots around the parks, and in the Rothrock State Forest. There's a...
10/21/2020

WILDFLOWER WEDNESDAY - 10/21 - Another round of fall shots around the parks, and in the Rothrock State Forest. There's also a spooky surprise at the end. Enjoy.

Photos by DCNR Ranger John Gladfelter

HISTORY ON FRIDAYS – 10/16 – This is the second in a series of history postings on Fridays featuring local CCC camps and...
10/16/2020

HISTORY ON FRIDAYS – 10/16 – This is the second in a series of history postings on Fridays featuring local CCC camps and some history of them. The camps features were in Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata, and Centre counties. This week’s feature camp was the Treaster Valley Camp S-64, in Mifflin County. More on that in a moment.

One of the most striking features of the CCC was that the young men lived in camps of around 200. When first established, they were mere “tent cities,” but were soon were upgraded with buildings. A typical camp had 5 barracks, an administration building, hospital/dispensary, a mess hall, recreation hall with a camp exchange (store), garages, tool sheds, a powerhouse for electricity (via a gas powered generator), an education building, latrine, showerhouse, officer quarters, forestry quarters, and other necessary structures. As the camp was considered temporary, buildings were simple frame structures with tarpaper and batten siding. They had stoves in for heat in winter, and were somewhat finished inside. As the Army administered the camps, photos show that influence, with everything neat and tidy, and the layout to string line precision. Straight as an arrow paths were lined with rocks painted white. We have had military veterans attending CCC programs find amusement in this, as they mentioned that when they were in the service, when you had nothing to do, you painted rocks!

The Treaster Valley camp was opened on June 20, 1933, and was located on the site of a former Boy Scout camp. It was designated as Camp S-64, and was a state forest camp. It was first occupied by CCC Company 1385, which was organized a couple weeks earlier on June 4 as Company 1314. They remained in the camp until May of 1936. Company 5458 replaced them on May 29. This company remained until December, 1936, when they were transferred to the nearby New Lancaster Valley Camp. At this point the camp was abandoned, and is believed to have become a YMCA youth camp for several years.

Address

15795 Greenwood Rd
Huntingdon, PA
16652-5831

General information

Park is open 8 am to Sunset year round. Park Office is open 8 am to 4 pm Mon-Fri, and Daily 8 am to 4 pm May thru Sept.

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Comments

These are some of my photos from this past week at Greenwood Furnace State Park. Enjoy. Love this place!
Had a great time exploring - & got a cool black bear T-shirt. didn't see any bears but captured this beauty right outside the park office doors......Inviting you to see more on Spice of Life photography page
Any word on how they are making out with whipple's? Will it be ready for the opening day of trout?
Yesterday
Will there be a Civil War weekend this year? If so what are the dates?
Thanks for a fun time at the SnowFest! For some reason this will only let me post one photo. More to come when I find a better way!
We wanted to reach out again to inform you that Greenwood Furnace State Park has been featured in 7 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Pennsylvania by Step Outside! Whether you’re searching for invigorating hikes with breathtaking views or the most idyllic places to kayak in your area, Step Outside is the leader in outdoor exploration. Between spotlighting the best local shops and retailers to covering all of the outdoor recreation you can dream about, Step Outside will get you pointed in the right direction. Celebrate being outdoors and share this post with your followers! Tag us with @StepOutsideUSA.
Maureen and I visited this state park yesterday It is in the middle of nowhere just bryond State Collage Pa. Very nice park.
I see that the lake s stocked with trout. What are other species of fish are in the lake?
The Northern Milky Way over Greenwood Furnace State Park last evening 1.7.2018
Does the park offer any canoe or kayak rentals?
📌 MISSING – PINE GROVE MOUNTAIN. ROTHROCK FOREST. OFF ROUTE 26. Three-year old, 50 lbs. labradoodle named Hugo. White with brown spots, fine coat, just shaved. Wearing dark brown leather collar with tags. Last seen approx 11:30 am, on Tuesday, 5/22/18, on a trail near Pine Swamp Road – not far from the access to the Mid State Trail. Was heading in the direction towards mountain top at Jo Hays Vista but may have branched off on one of the many trails. Very friendly, may be coaxed with treats, loves other dogs. Answers to Hugo, Hugster and Bubba. Contact : 814-321-2584 (owner may have limited cell service) or 814-360-1443.