Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a nine-part weekly column about the Centred Outdoors program, organized by ClearWater Conservancy and community partners with funding from a Centre Foundation Centre Inspires grant.
Centred Outdoors invites you to visit Black Moshannon State Park for guided adventures at 2 p.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Located near Philipsburg, Black Moshannon State Park consists of about 3,400 acres of lush forest and wetlands. It is a wonderful place to get out and explore nature. From boating, swimming, fishing and hiking, Black Moshannon has many opportunities for activities that the whole family can enjoy. Facilities in Black Moshannon include a sandy beach and swimming area, boat rentals to get out on the water, many hiking trails, as well as cabins and camping locations.
Black Moshannon gets part of its name from the distinctive tint of its water because it picks up the natural colors and tannins from aquatic plants and mosses. This makes the water at Black Moshannon State Park iconically brown, resembling tea more than pristine lake water. However, the water at Black Moshannon is high quality and hosts many species of animals and plants — including each of the three species of carnivorous pitcher plants found in Pennsylvania. Having such a diverse population of plants makes it possible for the forests and wetlands in Black Moshannon to support many different animal species.
Centred Outdoors will host two guided adventures to Black Moshannon. On Sunday, hikers will follow the Bog Trail near the lake, and loop up to the Seneca Trail to see a cranberry bog, carnivorous plants and a pond with an artesian spring. Please arrive prepared for soggy conditions. On Wednesday, hikers will hit the Ski Slope Trail and focus on history, learning about logging in the area, the old ski lodge and slope, and even see a one-room schoolhouse. Both hikes are about two miles in length and will take about an hour and a half to complete.
Visitors may also choose to go at their own pace and take a leisurely, self-guided walk along the Bog Trail. This half-mile boardwalk around the bog is wheelchair accessible and allows hikers to explore the wetlands up close. The boardwalk is a great place to observe wild blueberry plants and a wide variety of birds. Other local wildlife, such as beavers, deer and muskrats, can also sometimes be seen from the boardwalk observation deck.
Centred Outdoors is an invitation for people of all ages and fitness levels to get out and explore up to nine natural destinations around Centre County through guided or self-guided adventures.
Complete the Centred Outdoors challenge alongside your friends and neighbors by taking part in nine adventures by Aug. 16. To participate in the challenge, create a user profile on www.centredoutdoors.org and collect e-trophies to track your progress and become eligible to win prizes at the end of the summer. We hope to see you out on the trail at Black Moshannon State Park.
Lanagan is a Penn State graduate in geoscience and science education. She is currently working for the National Parks Service.
If you go
What: Centred Outdoors guided outing
When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday and 6-9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Black Moshannon State Park, 4216 Beaver Road, Philipsburg
What to bring: When visiting Black Moshannon, it’s best to pack for many activities. Bring comfortable shoes, bug spray, binoculars, water and a healthy snack for hiking; sunscreen, a swimming suit and a towel for the beach area; and an open mind for taking in whatever natural insights Black Moshannon may inspire.