State College

On Centre: Centre Region | Some trails closing, new ones opening in Rothrock State Forest

Rothrock State Forest is a true gem, and if you’ve ever hiked across any of its 300 miles of trails and stood in awe of some of the only natural-growth trees in the area, you’re likely familiar with how sensitive the ecosystem is.

Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock, the “Father of Forestry,” was the first forestry commissioner for Pennsylvania. The state forest named for him covers parts of Centre, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties and nearly 100,000 acres.

It’s hard to believe that the forest was nearly stripped of its trees at the turn of the last century, its wood used in the furnaces that dotted the region. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt took office and created the Civilian Conservation Corps, six of the 93 work camps were located in Rothrock, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. By 1942, the camps closed, but many trails were blazed.

Now, two sections of trails in the Galbraith Gap area have been permanently retired, according to forestry officials. The Cabin Trail and a spur on the Lonberger Trail were closed Thursday. Soon, crews will brush in the trails, dropping trees across the trails to close access because of sustainability issues and high safety concerns.

Fear not, though: Two new sections have been built to replace the retired trails. As part of the 2013 Chute Trail project, the lower section of Lonberger (Chute Trail) has been newly built and upgraded.

You can check out the new trails at

Eat chocolate, peruse art, support the outdoors

Speaking of the great outdoors, ClearWater Conservancy’s 15th annual For the Love of Art and Chocolate event takes place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

The venue is the Ramada Conference Center, 1450 S. Atherton St., and tickets are going fast, organizers say. Friday is the last day to snag a ticket.

The winter gala features gourmet chocolate, nature-inspired art, a pre-event sponsor reception and hors d’oeuvres. The event is a fundraiser for ClearWater, which helps in saving land, restoring buffers, protecting water and connecting people with the outdoors, according to a group news release.

Also at the event, you can learn more about the Connections Program, which has financed the cost to send 17,600 central Pennsylvania students to visit Millbrook Marsh Nature Center.

For details, visit ClearWater’s website at

A great MLK event Monday

There are several Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in the Centre Region next week. But one that should be called to attention will happen Monday, when the State College Middle School Players and the State College Friends School Peace Choir will perform “King in Montgomery: Ten Years in the Non-Violent Civil Rights Movement.”

The play centers on MLK’s work from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 through the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.

The performance, at 7 p.m. in the State College Friends School Community Room, is free, and audience participation in singing freedom songs is encouraged.

For more information, visit