I left Pennsylvania twice and came back twice. I could not stay away from where I was born, the forest called me back home each time. I moved to Newport News Virginia and Charleston South Carolina to work in the shipyards. Each state had interesting natural areas that I loved but neither of them had the big forests close by where I could get lost and forget that there was civilization close by. Oh yes, I have gotten lost in the woods, it's very easy around here.
Pennsylvania has over 2.2 million acres of state forest lands, combine that with private forest land and you have a national tree preserve. Our state is home to 108 native species of tree.
There are 20 state forest districts in Pennsylvania, I live in the Cornplanter district, named after the famous Seneca Leader. This district has 1,585 acres of state owned forest. Many other forest acres are in many private hands. There are also large State Game land areas for hunting, hiking and many have nature trails through many different environments.
The largest state forest area in called The Sproul State Forest and is in Clinton and Centre Counties and it is named in honor of William C. Sproul Pennsylvania Governor from 1919 to 1923. It contains 305,450 acres of forest and 450 square miles of it has no electricity, no permanent homes and no commercial telephone lines. There are not many roads in and out of this place. it is big forest country. You can and will get lost here! A few places there for those who really want natural wild areas to visit are The Chuck Keper Trail which is a 50 mile double loop trial. Donut Hole Trail which is 90 miles in length and there are 3 natural swamp areas, Cranberry, East Branch and Tamarack swamp areas.
Pennsylvania is also home to the Allegheny National Forest which covers 517,000 acres in Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren Counties, 463,000 in forest and 11,000 covered in water. You can find the Allegheny Island Wilderness Area of 8,979 acres or the Allegheny and Clarion Wild and Scenic Rivers Area with 9,250 acres to see. You could look for the Allegheny National Recreation Area that is over 20,000 acres or follow the North Country National Scenic Trial for 96 miles. You could find first old growth Hemlock forests in Tionesta and Hearts Content Scenic Areas.
Or you could hunt around Buzzard Swamp Management Area like I used to do and see old 12 foot high rotten hemlock stumps, where it takes 5 people to wrap their arms around the stump to touch finger tips. They were cut in the 1800's and still stand today in these places. This place is over 1000 acres and I have been there many times and still not seen it all. Yeah, I got lost here a few time, this place is really haunting and daunting to visit.
Pennsylvania forests are considered temperate rain forests and transitional forests that change from southern forests to northern forests. It is one big national forest preserve, you should check it out some time.
Many of the trails today that criss-cross Pennsylvania are those first cut by animals and then used by the first people of Pennsylvania.
Although you can go out any where and find a place to get lost in, it always holds history there. We always walk with ghosts in the forest. That's why I always had to come home.