A Legacy of Conservation Across Time

The Changing Forest on Mt. Nittany

MNC Board member Tom Smyth descibes how the forest has both matured and changed over the past 50 years.

“On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon cars were parked down around the bend on ML Nittany Road and the trails were filled with hikers. As I headed up the Hal White Trail the folks coming down seemed happy and several remarked on what a beautiful hike it is and how good the trails are. And, they were right. That got me to thinking about how different the hike was when I first went up in 1955 as a young faculty member, an advisor to the Penn State Outing Club (PSOC). Then, the only trails were apparently old logging chutes that came steeply down the fall line. The mountain had been clear cut early in the 20th century so the forest consisted of saplings and small pole timber, mostly sprouts from old stumps, and some seedlings that had been released by the lumbering. There was a very small view at what has since been named the Mike Lynch Overlook. The hike provided a good physical workout; we climbed Mt. Nittany “because it is there”, not for the beauty of the forest or excellent views.”

Read the full article here: The Changing Forest on Mt. Nittany

Trail Preservation

The loose sand and shale soils on the steep slopes are easily damaged and eroded. Thus, the mountain is limited to foot travel only, as bicycles, motorized vehicles and horses cause irreparable trail damage. Old, discontinued trails running straight up and down the slopes should not be used. The same goes for creating new trails on the mountain.

We are proud to belong to the Leave No Trace Organization that advocates outdoor ethics for visitors to use. We adhere to the seven (7) Leave No Trace principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Please note that due to safety concerns, campfires and overnight camping are prohibited on all lands owned or managed by the Mount Nittany Conservancy. Please note that we have a Carry in, Carry Out Trash Policy; NO trash receptacles are located along the trails!

Wildlife Conservation

With the help of our visitors, we hope to help conserve and preserve our local wildlife. The Mount Nittany Trail is great for year-round wildlife viewing; everything from song birds and birds of prey, to white tail deer and the like.

Some guidelines to follow while on the trail that will help to enable you to view wildlife include:

  1. The quieter you are, the better chance you will have of seeing birds, deer, rabbits, and more…
  2. Wear colors that blend in with nature. Bright colors may be easier for others to see, however they also alert animals to your presence and may frighten them away.
  3. Don’t do anything that would alter the behavior of an animal. This includes things such as feeding or offering food to the animals. Behaviors such as these increase the risk of wildlife associating people as a source of food — and we already know how pesky some wildlife can be! Also, wild animals are not tame; thus there is always a chance of behavior on the animals part that can put us humans in harms way.