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wild and natural areas

Pennsylvania’s state forest system includes dozens of special wild and natural areas set aside to protect unique or unusual biologic, geologic, scenic and historical features or to showcase outstanding examples of the state’s major forest communities. Natural areas are “managed” by nature and direct human intervention is limited. They provide places for scenic observation, protect special plant and animal communities and conserve outstanding examples of natural beauty. Wild areas are generally extensive tracts managed to protect the forest’s wild character and to provide backcountry recreational opportunities.

Meeting of the Pines Natural Area

This 611-acre natural area is located adjacent to and north of Penn State University’s Mont Alto Campus. It features five species of native pines (white, pitch, Virginia, table-mountain, and shortleaf) growing together. This does not occur anywhere else in Pennsylvania.

Carbaugh Run Natural Area

This 780-acre area was established to protect several archeological sites. Early Native Americans quarried stone and produced spear points and arrowheads here. Carbaugh Run is also a designated Reptile and Amphibian Protection Area.

Mt. Cydonia Ponds Natural Area

This 183-acre area is located just west of Irishtown Road. It was established to protect the numerous vernal ponds scattered throughout the area. These ponds provide critical breeding habitats for certain reptiles and amphibians.

Beartown Woods Natural Area

This 27-acre area is a relic northern hardwood forest more typical of northern Pennsylvania, New York, and New England. Species found in this forest type include sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech, and eastern hemlock.