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​​​Michaux State Forest

Michaux State Forest encompasses more than 85,500 acres in the South Mountain area of:

  • Cumberland County
  • Franklin County
  • Adams County

Considered Pennsylvania’s “cradle of forestry,” Michaux is the site of the first forestry school, Mont Alto.

The forest is named for the French botanist, Andre Michaux, who discovered and named many plants during the 18th century.

Most of the state forest lands of the Michaux district are located on the metavolcanic and quartzite rocks of South Mountain at the northern terminus of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Forests of oak species dominate the slopes, including:

  • Chestnut oak
  • Scarlet oak
  • Northern red oak
  • Black oak
  • White oak

along with:

  • Red maple
  • Black birch
  • Black gum
  • Hickory
  • Pine
  • Tuliptree (yellow poplar)​

New Michaux Visitor Center

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be replacing the current Michaux Forest District Office with a new Resource Management Center to better serve visitors, residents, and district forest needs.

The selected 70-acre site is state forest land that a portion of is leased to a third party to operate the South Mountain Golf Course, with the lease expiring at the end of 2025.

The project will increase public acres conserved as habitat and restore it as a free public resource for visitors and all outdoor recreation users.

Several sites were thoroughly evaluated, with the selected site chosen based on:

  • Public accessibility
  • Trail connectivity and nearness to visitors
  • Low environmental impact and opportunity to protect critical wildlife
  • Enhanced forest operations
  • Site connection to conservation history

The availability of a number of other golf opportunities in the region also was considered.

As a gateway to the southern end and up into Michaux State Forest, the new visitor center will increase engagement with forest users and serve as a teaching and demonstration center for conservation history and natural resource stewardship.

More information on the project is available in these documents:

The visitor center is in the design and planning stage.

​Michaux State Forest Management

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry manages our state forests for their long-term health and productivity while conserving native wild plants.

These forests are managed as “working forests” and provide a suite of uses and values to Pennsylvania citizens, while maintaining the forest’s wild character.

Our state forests are managed for:

  • Pure water
  • Recreation
  • Scenic beauty
  • Plant and animal habitat
  • Sustainable timber and natural gas
  • Many other uses and values

The management of our state forests is guided by the State Forest Resource Management Plan.

Michaux State Forest Resource Management Plan

The department’s Bureau of Forestry is in the process of revising the Michaux State Forest Resource Management Plan.

A district-level state forest management plan is written for each of the bureau’s 20 forest districts across the state.

Michaux State Forest staff hosted a public meeting and online survey about its draft management plan in 2018.

The 2020 Michaux State Forest Resource Management Plan Public Survey Data and Response to Public Comments (PDF)​ is available to review.

Using public input and building on the statewide 2016 management plan, the Bureau of Forestry revised and completed a new Michaux State Forest Resource Management Plan (PDF) setting district-level management priorities.

2024 Management Activities

The ​Michaux State Forest’s 2024 Managem​ent Activities (PDF) provides information about upcoming projects and events to implement the State Forest Resource Management Plan.

Michaux Trail Assessment

The Michaux Trail Assessment (PDF) is a feasibility and market study that identifies priority trails that the district is hoping to construct.

The study was undertaken to support the goals of t​he Bureau of Forestry in managing current and future trail use.

Harvest Schedule

Local state forest harvest schedules promote and maintain desired forest landscape conditions while providing a sustainable flow of forest products.

Ecosystem Management

The Bureau of Forestry has adopted “ecosystem management” as its principal strategy for managing state forests.

This approach seeks to conserve the natural p​atterns and processes of the forest while advancing long-term sustainability.

Ecosystem management promotes the conservation of plant and animal communities and the landscapes and habitats that support them. It also accounts for needs and values of people and communities.

This results in a holistic, integrated approach to managing forest resources.

A Working Forest

As you travel throughout the state forest, you’ll see examples of our forests “at work.” Some of these management practices are more noticeable than others, such as:

  • Active timber harvests
  • Deer exclosure fences
  • Natural gas drilling sites
  • Prescribed fires
  • Gypsy moth spraying

Others are more subtle, such as the:

  • Protection of a vernal pool
  • Buffering of a stream from timber harvesting
  • Setting aside of a special area to conserve its wild character or protect a rare plant community

Each of these management practices and activities play a vital role in the management and conservation of our state forest system.

Dual Certified Forest

Pennsylvania’s 2.2-million-acre state forest system is one of the largest dual certified forests in North America.

​The forest is certified under Forest Stewardship Council™ and Sustainable Forestry Initiative© standards.

The FSC© is an independent organization supporting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

SFI© certification focuses on protection of water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.

Dual certification ensures that Pennsylvania’s state forests are managed to the highest third-party standards.

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​Explore Michaux State Forest

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Michaux State Forest