Monthly Archives: February 2012

Altoona Curve Black & Gold Star Pack

CURVE, Pa. – Pittsburgh Steelers’ Pro Bowl wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh Penguins’ All-Star left wing James Neal will appear at Peoples Natural Gas Field during the 2012 season as part of the Altoona Curve promotional schedule.

Brown will make his way to Curve, Pa. on Friday, April 6th when the Curve play Erie as part of a big opening weekend, thanks to Peoples Natural Gas.  Neal visits Altoona on Monday, August 27th for the Curve vs. Akron contest courtesy of the Altoona Trackers and Advanced Chiropractic.  Both Brown and Neal will take part in pre-game festivities and sign autographs for fans during the game.  WTAJ-TV will be the media sponsor for both of the appearances.

“We’re extremely pleased to announce the appearances of these two all-stars,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan.  “Our fans have really enjoyed interacting with the Steelers’ and Penguins’ players we’ve brought in the last few years and I’m sure Antonio Brown and James Neal will take it up a notch because of the high level of success they’ve had recently.”

Brown, 23, played in all 16 regular season games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 while going over the 1000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his short, two-year career.  The Florida native was selected to his first Pro Bowl after the just-completed 2011 season, going in as a kick returner after averaging 27.3 yards/kick return and 10.8 yards/punt return (one for a touchdown).

Brown was selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan and played in nine games during his rookie season.  He capped off his first year as a pro with a couple of key catches during the playoffs that helped the Steelers make Super Bowl XLV: a 58-yard snag to help set up the winning score vs. Baltimore in the divisional round and a clutch, 14-yard grab to assure the win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game.

Neal, 24, has scored 30 goals and racked up 57 points through 59 games played this season as the top-line left wing for the Penguins.  A second round selection by the Dallas Stars in 2005, Neal came to Pittsburgh by way of a trade during the 2010-11 season when he was swapped along with Matt Niskanen to the Penguins in exchange for Alex Goligoski.

The Ontario native’s 30 goals this season are a career-high in his four years in the NHL and he has exceeded the 20-goal plateau in each of his first four campaigns.  Of his 30 goals this season, 13 have come on power play opportunities, tying him for the league lead in that category entering play on Monday.  This past weekend, Neal signed a six-year, $30 million contract extension with the ‘Pens that prevented him from becoming a restricted free agent on July 1st.

The pair of appearances by the stars from the Steel City headlines a special, five-game ticket plan for 2012 that the Curve are dubbing the Black & Gold Star Pack.  Also included in the five-game plan are two giveaway nights and the Fourth of July Fireworks Night presented by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Keeping with the theme of Black & Gold stars, two of the other games in the plan are centered on up-and-coming players in the Pirates’ minor league system that will hopefully make it to Pittsburgh in the near future.  Fans will get to attend the Starling Marte Canvas Painting Giveaway Night presented by Holiday Inn Express (first 1,000 fans) on Friday, May 4 and the Gerrit Cole Fireball Giveaway presented by UniFirst (first 1,000 fans) on July 20th.

Marte won the Eastern League Rookie of the Year award and the league batting title in 2011 en route to his most productive season in the minors.  Cole was the first-overall pick in last spring’s draft out of UCLA and could make his way to Altoona at some point during the upcoming 2012 season.

Fans can purchase the Black & Gold Star Pack with the five games mentioned above for as low as $30 for a Grandstand seat.  The ticket plans, which are on sale now, are also available in Rail King, Diamond Club, and Terrace levels.

Altoona opens its 14th season of baseball at 6:30 p.m. on April 5th as they welcome in the Erie SeaWolves (AA – Tigers) to Peoples Natural Gas Field.  Individual game tickets for the 2012 season will go on sale beginning March 9th at Baseball Bash, which takes place from 5:30-8 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.  For more information, please call 877.99.CURVE, visit www.AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the offices at Peoples Natural Gas Field during normal business hours.

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Lincoln Caverns & Whisper Rocks Opens Daily for 82nd Season March 1, 2012

Lauren & HannahLincoln Caverns & Whisper Rocks, near Huntingdon and Raystown Lake, is proud to announce the opening of its 82nd season. Beginning March 1, tours are offered throughout the spring, seven days a week, from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM each day. Extended summer hours begin Memorial Day weekend with the last tour starting at 5:00 PM, and July 1 through Labor Day with the last tour at 6:00 PM. Visitors are treated to a one hour interpretive tour through two spectacular crystal caverns, Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. Always a pleasant 52°, tours can be enjoyed anytime, rain or shine. No reservations are necessary to experience this unique underground environment. During the leisurely walk through the two caverns guests of all ages enjoy exploring winding passageways and splendid rooms surrounded by the widest variety of speleothems, or cave formations, in Pennsylvania. Professional cavern interpreters share the fascinating story of the geology and discovery of the caverns.

Lincoln Caverns specializes in educational programs for schools, Scouts, and other organized groups. Package tours for 2012 include Geo Packs for schools and youth groups, Ultimate Underground Birthdays, and complete badge programs for Scouts featuring a variety of activity choices, including “An Introduction To Speleology” pre-tour program, ‘Geoworks’ hands-on workshops, panning for real gems, and overnight programs in the learning center. Lincoln Caverns’ indoor learning center makes programming possible year round, regardless of the weather.

Several popular special events are planned for the 2012 season; Discovery Days, June 23 & 24, celebrates 80 years of discovery and Dunlavy family history with special historic tours and workshops and crafts offered throughout the weekend. Lincoln Caverns’ 29th Annual Ghosts and Goblins tours are coming Fridays and Saturdays in October with a brand new tour and theme for 2012. The summer months feature Kids Cave Kamp, Photography Tours and Flashlight Adventures.

Whether traveling with a family or an organized group, Lincoln Caverns offers informal, personalized tours, plus various other amenities, making the visit a memorable one. Warrior Ridge Campground, picnic pavilions, nature trails, gem panning, and Raystown Country’s largest souvenir and gift shop are also located on the premises.

Lincoln Caverns is located just three miles west of Huntingdon, PA, near Raystown Lake. Group leaders, teachers, and individuals interested in Lincoln Caverns’ tours and educational offerings are invited to call(814)643-0268, FAX (814)643-1358, visit our website at www.lincolncaverns.com or write: 7703 William Penn Hwy., Huntingdon, PA 16652, for more information.

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Geocaching at Raystown Lake

by Kathy Jones

Looking for a fun way to get out and take a walk in the woods or for an excuse to get up and get moving?  Why not put some technology to work for you and explore geocaching at Raystown Lake?  Geocaching is a fun, low impact exploration that uses a GPS to find a “treasure” or cache.  The cache stays, but you get to sign in and the caches at the lake are actually activity based. Designed and placed in summer 2010 by Kathy Jones, an education professor at Juniata College, they have been a success among geocaches and now we invite YOU to get into the action.  Hand-held GPS units (with instructions) can be borrowed FREE of charge at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center at Seven Points Recreation Area.

The four current caches (a fifth has been lost, but will be replaced) and the GPS units were made possible by a grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection and placed with the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers, Friends of Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau and Juniata College.  The activities are kid friendly ways to explore the surrounding environs and include “It’s for the Birds”, “Tracks and Scat”, “Lizards and Snakes”, and “Rabbits and Squirrels”.

Each cache includes a storybook or two, a story written by Jones to introduce the activity and the equipment to carry it out, plus a logbook.  And in some case there may be other treasures inside with “tracker bugs.”  These tracker bugs can be taken and then placed into another geocache (because we know once you start, you won’t be able to stop).  And we ask you to also sign in and log your visit at www.geocaching.com – it’s free and easy to do. So get out there and enjoy the woods and learn how technology has “invaded” the woods, but is encouraging activity.

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2011 Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Year in Review

In 2011, the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau:

  • Welcomed more than 24,000 people to the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center, which was open to the public 321 days.
    • Hosted Wake-Up Receptions on nine consecutive Tuesday mornings, attended by more than 100 people/week, and averaging 14 members with table displays.
    • Fielded thousands of phone calls from potential visitors to 888-RAYSTOWN (1-888-729-7869).
    • Hosted 20 bus tours and 18 school field trips.
    • Sold $51,252 of merchandise and annual passes in its gift shop.
  • Designed, printed and distributed 75,000 visitors guides.
    • Directly mailed more than 2,100 Visitors Guides one at a time.
    • Shipped nearly 30,000 Visitors Guides by the case to other Tourism Promotion Agencies, state welcome centers, rest areas, AAA offices, Amtrak stations, and more.
  • Welcomed a new hotel, a new sporting goods shop, three new bed and breakfasts, new vacation rentals, and a new restaurant to the local economy.
  • Served more than 250 members.
    • Made 28 deliveries of member literature to 10 info sites around the county.
    • Sent out 37 email communications to members.
    • Facilitated meetings among member groups.
    • Assisted members in creating their marketing plans.
  • Has been instrumental in the creation of the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism.
    • Helped write HB 2056 which would form a public-private partnership to handle the Commonwealth’s marketing to attract tourists.
    • Hosted a state tourism rally for The Alleghenies during the 2nd Annual Dirt Rag DirtFest.
    • Hosted a tourism summit highlighting the need for PA’s tourism industry to have a stronger voice in Harrisburg.
    • Attended the first Statewide Tourism Summit in Harrisburg.
  • Planned and executed a nationally sanctioned barbeque competition featuring 25 travelling teams, five vendors, a recreation show, a phenomenal kids’ area, car show, beer and wine tastings, seminars, people’s choice cook-off, and three concerts atop houseboats for about 1,000 attendees.
  • Hosted its second annual Raystown Region Wedding Expo.
  • Participated on committees and/or boards with Huntingdon County Partners in Economic Progress, HCBI, Huntingdon County Humane Society, Huntingdon County United Way, Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce, Mayfest of Huntingdon, Huntingdon Landmarks, Four & More Cultural District, Friends of Raystown Lake, Juniata Clean Water Partnership, Rotary, Lions, The Alleghenies, SAPDC, Pennsylvania Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, PennDot, and DCNR (not to mention HCVB).
    • Spoke to Lions Clubs, Huntingdon Rotary, Soroptomists of Huntingdon, Media Savvy Marketing series, Juniata College retired faculty, and others about the importance of tourism in Huntingdon County.
    • Attended dozens of community events, fundraisers, and service projects.
  • Received more than 100 hours of professional development courses for its staff.
  • Advertised in 10 states.
    • Drew 536,887 page views to Raystown.org
    • Posted close to 1,000 events on Raystown.org, VisitPA.com, HuntingdonArea.info, and other high-profile websites.
    • Sent out 29 email newsletters to 800+ subscribers.
    • Sent out 24 press releases.
    • Led the state TPAs with more than 5,000 Facebook fans.
    • Hosted film crews for Explore PA, Ira David’s Pedal America, Pennsylvania Humanities on the Road, Our Town Mount Union, Keystone Kitchen, and other local news features.
    • Hosted travel writers from Pennsylvania Magazine, Recreation News, Pursuits, Dirt Rag, Bike, Bicycle Times, Alleghenies Adventures, and other local and regional publications.
    • Attended a travel consumer show for The Alleghenies in Philadelphia, and the Best Bridal Event in Altoona.

Our staff of 3 full-time and one part-time employees, and two interns could not have accomplished even half of this without the efforts of the wonderful volunteers on our board, our committees, in our visitors center, and at our events!  THANK YOU!

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Hiking, the BIG PICTURE – Florida to NY State via Standing Stone Trail

Publisher’s note: This article appeared in the 2006 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide. 

By Carl Lorence

If you’re a day-hiker, a trail runner, a long distance backpacker, or you just like to take a short stroll in the woods once in a while, this should interest you. As you may know, the Standing Stone Trail actually “links” the Mid State Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park to the Tuscarora Trail just north of Cowan’s Gap State Park-about 72 miles of foot trail through some of the most beautiful country in PA. You may have walked the 1,000 Steps near Mt.Union, a major feature in about the center of the trail. Some important changes are in the mill that will enhance both the physical status of the Standing Stone Trail and its importance on a national level.

Currently, a study of the entire trail is being conducted by Tom Scully, a Landscape Architect with much trail experience, that will establish a master plan for the trace of the trail to get it off roads, pipe/electric lines and into the woods. Additionally, a major relocation of the trail south of Three Springs will overcome a good deal of road walking due to landowners issues. So, the Trail’s future is bright but there is more to come.

Two groups have formed, one in the South and the other in the North (the Standing Stone Trail is part of this one) with the aim of developing another long distance trail in the Eastern US. This trail will connect existing trials  from Florida to New York State. Suggested some years ago as a Western Appalachian Alternative (WAA) to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, actions are being taken to bring it into existence. A group has formed and met and even made suggestions to the name: The Appalachian Crest Trail and Great Eastern Passage are a few of them.

In the South, significant land has been purchased to connect the Alabama and Georgia Pinhouti trails. The Florida National Scenic Trail has joined the group. In the North, the Mid-State Trial is being extended to the New York border. In NY, the Finger Lakes (joined to the MST) and North Country Trials are participants and it is proposed that the trail continue north to Lake Champlain. So it will be a trail from Florida to New York, but also, it will retain the characteristic of each individual trail. Some will be multi-use and others foot traffic only. But all will adhere to certain basic standards and attempt to accommodate long distance hikers with shelters, campsites, springs, privies, and side trails to significant features. Maps and guide books will be printed and sold to users in the next few years.

Now is the chance for you to get involved in all these activities so important to the future of hiking significant foot trails in our great state. You can best participate by being a member of a trail maintaining club such as the Standing Stone Trail Hiking Club. Club members give of their time and treasure to build and maintain the trails year ’round. To get started on doing your part, a sort of payback for all the tails you’ve hiked without ever doing any trail care, check out our website at: http://www.hike-sst.org/ – our club activities are shown on the schedule. There are also links to other trail organizations which are helpful in planning a hike.

Happy Trails!

Categories: 2006 Visitors Guide | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Made to Order Moments- Dining in the RLR

by Luana Lindberg

Good moments, bad moments, embarrassing moments, hilarious moments….moments, moments, moments…We all have our moments!  Now we want to give you a different moment…A made-to-order Raystown Moment!

From the moment you arrive, we are ready to serve you.  Want a quick lunch before you head to the lake?  Burger King and Wendy’s are quick and tasty and you can always grab a sub at Subway.

Maybe your Raystown moment will come after the campers are set up and camping gear is put away.  You could steal a moment to relax at Memories at the Lake.  Enjoy their award winning wings or one of their famous burgers while watching the boats sail into dock at the 7-Points Marina.

If you want to make your own Raystown Moments on the lake last as long as possible, then the Light House Concession might be the choice for you.  Just call you order in from your boat, pick-it up, and enjoy while you soak up the last of the sun’s rays as they set over beautiful Lake Raystown.

Looking for a little nightlife?  Does an ice cold beer sound good after a day in the sun?  You won’t find better choices anywhere than Boxer’s Café in Historic downtown Huntingdon.

Got the whole family? Great!  We have some fabulous family restaurants to make your moment special!  Try Top’s or Miller’s Diner.  Whether its pancakes for breakfast, a burger for lunch, or pork chops for dinner, these two are hard to beat.  Miller’s offers free pie if a train stops at the diner and the engineer comes in to get something to eat.  THAT is train stoppin’ good!  Maybe steaks and salad are more to your liking, try Hoss’s Steak and Sea House.

Need a sports fix?  No problem.  Try Main Street Café or Memories, both local sports bars with great food and drink.

Looking for a quiet candle filled moment? Then Mimi’s is the place.  A more upscale restaurant with great food prepared by local chefs and a wonderful martini bar.

Did you say I need a cup of coffee?  Well then check out the Standing Stone Coffee Co. in uptown Huntingdon.  They offer great coffee and pastry in a cool coffee bar setting.

Yes, everyone has their moments.  Let us make you another one…a Raystown moment…made-to-order.

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BATFEST This Weekend at Lincoln Caverns

Lincoln Caverns, near Huntingdon, PA, presents its special brand of Valentine Weekend fun with its sixth annualBATFEST on Saturday, February 11, 2012, from 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM.  During over five hours of informative fun, participants develop a deeper appreciation for Pennsylvania’s most fascinating mammals.  This popular family event, for bat enthusiasts of all ages, features a day full of activities, cavern tours, and a pizza lunch.  2012 marks the twenty-first year of bat education at Lincoln Caverns.  The staff looks forward to sharing newbat crafts and games with Batfest visitors.  The group will have the opportunity to participate in the building of a bat house, to be awarded to a lucky attendee through a random drawing at the end of the day.

A special treat at this year’s Batfest will be a visit from Robyn Graboski, of Centre Wildlife Care.  Ms. Graoboski is a popular guest at Lincoln Caverns’ events, as well as many other regional events.  She rehabilitates a wide variety of Pennsylvania animals, includingbats.  Betsy, one of Centre Wildlife Care’s big brown bats, will be a special guest, offeringBatfest participants an up close and personal encounter with one of our furry friends.  The informative program will include information about Pennsylvania’s bats, as well as an update on White Nose Syndrome, the devastating disease that has already caused the death of over six million bats in the Eastern United States.  Lincoln Caverns has participated in education efforts, as well as raising funds for WNS research during the past three seasons.

The highlight of Batfest is always the visit to the caverns, Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks.  The interpretive tours of two spectacular crystal caverns features history, geology, batfacts, and trivia, while offering guests plenty of time for questions and picture taking.  The caverns are a comfortable 50° year round, making them the ideal place to spend a winter afternoon.  Lincoln Caverns’ gift shop features a wide variety of logo items and bat gifts.  Great discounts are included with Batfest tickets.  A portion of each purchase during Batfest will be donated to WNS research.

Advance tickets are required for Batfest and space is limited.  Batfest 2011 is planned for Saturday, February 11, 2012, with a blizzard date of February 18, 2012.  Tickets may be purchased at www.lincolncaverns.com or by calling 814.643.0268.

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Birding Opportunities Abound

Publisher’s Note: The following article appeared in the 2005 Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.  Some links that are no longer active have been removed from its original form.  Lake Perez that is mentioned in the article has since been drained, although the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Stone Valley Recreation Area that were once on its shores, are still going strong!

by Chet Clark, AmeriCorps Member, Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps

Information provided by:

Robert Criswell, PA Game Commission; Chuck Yohn, Juniata College; Jeff Krause, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Dave Kyler, Juniata Valley Audubon Society member

Whether it’s a trip to a known birding hotspot or an afternoon watching out the window at home, bird watching as a hobby is on the rise. In fact, in a recent survey, bird watching was at the top of the list for fastest growing activities in the country with an increase in participation of 232 percent since 1983. This increase in popularity is evident in many ways; for example, more than 500,000 copies of The Sibley Guide to Birds have been printed since its release in October 2000, making it the fastest selling bird book ever. Birding festivals are on the increase around the nation as well. In the early 1990’s only a dozen or so existed in the U.S., now about 200 take place annually.

The number of birding trails also is increasing. One unique birding trail was developed in Texas, and over half the states in the nation have followed its lead, including Pennsylvania. These driving trails incorporate stops along the open road at sites chosen for their great birding opportunities. One such trail has been developed in the Susquehanna watershed, which includes the Juniata watershed. The trail stretches across 27 counties (including Huntingdon County) and features 200+ bird and wildlife sites, trails, and scenic drives. Along with the development of this trail, a guide, titled Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail (available at the Raystown Lake Visitor Center), was created identifying the individual sites. With this guide bird watchers have directions to the best spots to enjoy the many beautiful species of avifauna found in the Raystown Lake Region.  Over 25 sites lie within the Juniata River watershed and adjacent areas of the region.

A good place to start your search for our feathered friends is at one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA). These areas were designated by Audubon as such for their abundance and/or diversity of avifauna. One such spot is the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River, situated in northern Huntingdon County, just off Water Street. “Lower Trail,” part of the Rails-to-Trails system which runs for 16 miles along the river, takes you into some excellent ridge and valley riparian forest habitat. This site is one of Pennsylvania’s most important Cerulean Warbler breeding areas. There are an estimated 50-60 breeding pairs of this illusive warbler along the trail. The Cerulean Warbler is a small bluish-colored (black streaks in the blue above with a white underside) warbler, with a habit of remaining in the high, dense tree canopies. Despite the difficulty of sighting them, their song (rapid buzzes followed by a longer drawn out buzz, zray, zray, zray, zreeeee) can usually be heard throughout the day. Excellent concentrations of other breeding riparian species also are found here. Neotropical migrants (such as the Northern Parula with its bold yellow chin and yellow and chestnut breast with a slate-colored body) are typically much higher in number in this area during the early portion of the spring migration (late April-early May), due to early leaf-out along the river.

Another IBA is Canoe Creek State Park. This area hosts an incredible array of birdlife due to its exceptionally diverse habitat. There are 220 species that occur, with 110 breeding at the site. The habitat types include: large tracts of unfragmented forest (that attract forest-interior neotropical migrants); forested wetlands with many small beaver ponds; laurel thickets; riparian forest; unspoiled emergent and shrub wetlands; native grassland and old-field habitat; and a 160-acre lake. The lake attracts migrating waterfowl in the spring. In the forest interior look for the brilliantly colored Scarlet Tanager. The male Tanager is a beautiful, rich scarlet-colored bird with black wings and tail. The female of the species is an olive shade with gray wings.

The Stone Valley Recreational Area is located across the 70-acre Lake Perez from Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. Both areas present opportunities to view spring and fall waterfowl and passerine migration species. The tall white pines of the Stone Valley Recreation Area attract Pine Warblers in the spring and summer. At the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, visitors find plenty of bird watching opportunities as well as many public programs to take part in. The environmental center also allows for a close up look at many raptor species living there due to injuries too serious to allow for their release. Hiking trails abound and meander through habitats such as hemlock riparian areas, hardwood forest, and open meadows.

The Raystown Lake area also offers some unique birding opportunities. Two active eagle nests provide sighting opportunities all around the lake, with the best spot appearing to be just downstream of the Raystown Dam. This area is fairly reliable for catching a glimpse of the magnificent birds, as they are usually found perched across the river. The Fouses Crossing wetland site has access restrictions for waterfowl propagation between March 15 and August 15 but provides some unique spring and summer birding opportunities. Newly created wetlands along agricultural and moist soil habitat provide great spots to view wading birds such as Herons and Egrets, along with various waterfowl in the spring. The lake also provides winter and early spring viewing opportunities for a variety of waterfowl that utilize the lake as a resting spot during migration. This site is a waterfowl enthusiast’s dream with many species present at one time or another. Common species such as Ring-necked Ducks and Common Mergansers to the not-so-common Black Scoter and Ring-necked Grebe can be seen. One good vantage point is a large cove just south of the Seven Points Recreation Area, that can be accessed from various campground roads. Additionally, the warmer discharge waters of the dam and the dense riparian cover of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River make the four-mile stretch between the dam and the Point Access a great area for winter bird viewing. Recent hacking programs to reintroduce Osprey at Raystown make them a common, late summer find in the James Creek area of the lake. The many trails at Raystown Lake also provide great opportunities for viewing breeding birds in a variety of habitats. Maps of the trails are available at the Raystown Lake Visitors Center.

If the raptor is your bird of choice, then the Jo Hays Vista is the site for you. This IBA is located over 2,000 feet above sea level atop the Tussey Mountain Ridge. The hawkwatch  is known for its high numbers of spring migrating Golden Eagles (more are seen at this site than any other east of the Rocky Mountains), which peaks in the first three weeks of March. Counts of up to 150 annually have been recorded. Along with Golden Eagles, spring counts of up to 6,500 from 15 other species of diurnal raptors have been recorded at the site. Good numbers also can be seen during fall migration. The surrounding area provides good habitat for many breeding birds. Due to the lack of fragmentation throughout the ridge, many forest-interior species are found here. Some representatives include the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, several warblers, and the Scarlet Tanager.

These are just a few of the birding opportunities in Raystown Lake Region. Explore www.pabirdingtrails.org for more information on these and other birding sites in the area. To learn more about birding, contact the local Juniata Valley Audubon Society Chapter. Other interesting information can be obtained by checking out the following websites:

http://www.scbirdcl.org/

http://www.shaverscreek.org

http://www.birding.com/wheretobird/pennsylvania.asp

 

Categories: 2005 Visitors Guide, Things to Do | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Anniversary to the Boy Scouts of America!

This week, the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their 102nd anniversary.  In its century plus of existence, the BSA has molded millions of young men with its aims of developing character, citizenship and fitness. If you are involved in Scouting, as a scout, leader, employee, parent, or volunteer, we salute you.  We’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the programs that Huntingdon County offers to Scout groups.

Scout Out Huntingdon County heritage trail award patch

When Scouts complete any leg of the Scout Out Huntingdon County heritage trail system, they are eligible to earn the central patch, and the appropriate segment.

Scout Out Huntingdon County: 100 Miles of Heritage is a biking, hiking, and paddling trail system that is designed to be completed in five weekends, or if your group prefers, tackle any three contiguous legs of the trail to earn the 50-Miler Award.  This program features a central patch and a segment for each leg of the system.  As your Scouts complete a leg, they earn the appropriate segment.  The trail utilizes existing trails, rivers, and minor roadways to link interactive attractions, natural sites, historic sites, and campgrounds, giving the Scouts a unique learning adventure that is appropriate for their skill/achievement level.

Merit Badge Programs are offered by a number of attractions in Huntingdon County, and nearby.  Some of our attractions specifically cater to Scout groups.  Here are some that we highly recommend:

  • Lincoln Caverns, 3 miles west of Huntingdon, offers unique programming for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and all levels of Girl Scouts that explore the geology and natural world of caves.  Lincoln Caverns also offers primitive camping to youth groups at its Warrior Ridge Campground.
  • Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, located about half-way between Petersburg and Pine Grove Mills also offers Scout programs for all ages.  With it’s Raptor Center, nature trails, pavilions and regular programming, this is a great place for Scouting weekends any time of the year.
  • Fort Roberdeau, located in the Sinking Valley section of eastern Blair County offers the unique opportunity for Scouts to live and dress like soldiers and citizens would have during the Revolutionary War.  The historic site is also a county park with nature trails, a visitors center, pavilions and more.
  • Old Bedford Village, located north of Bedford, offers Scouts the chance to experience 18th and 19th century life in Pennsylvania.  Group programs include period appropriate trade immersion and crafts.
  • Indian Caverns, located along Route 45 east of Spruce Creek, offers merit badge programs in Native American lore, as well as geology and others.  One unique program at Indian Caverns lets the Scouts actually spend the night in the cave!

Many other sites in the Raystown Lake Region provide opportunities for Scouts to advance, or complete partial requirements for merit badges.  If you would like to learn more about bringing your Scouts to the area, call the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau at 888-729-7869.

Happy Scouting!

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Huntingdon County: A History of Transportation and Industry

By Ron Morgan

Visitors to scenic and historical Huntingdon County will quickly identify with the area’s down home atmosphere, quaint country settings and an abundance of outdoor beauty and recreational opportunities. What many travelers may not realize is that the Raystown Lake Region of The Alleghenies, including Huntingdon County, boasts of an exciting transportation and industrial heritage that can be experienced by a visit to many attractions in the region.

The development of historic Huntingdon County is traced back to its transportation resources which started out as rugged Native American “paths,” or “Indian Trails.” These early transportation routes, used for both military and civilian purposes, cut into the heart of the mountains and valleys of central Pennsylvania. The “paths,” which included the north-south Warriors Path that closely paralleled Raystown Lake and Tussey Mountain, played prominent roles in the region’s history during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

With the close of the Revolution, settlers pushed west, first crossing the Alleghenies by wagon and on foot, or utilizing some of Pennsylvania’s major rivers and smaller streams, including the Juniata River system. Locally, a number of “toll roads” were established which connected Huntingdon County with its neighboring counties.

During the early years of the 19th century, rival canal systems like the Erie Canal to the north and the C&O to the south forced the state to construct its own Pennsylvania Canal, which “Middle Division” passed through the heart of Huntingdon County, helping to boost the economy and growth of Huntingdon and Mount Union.

By the early 1850s the canal system was replaced by the trend-setting Pennsylvania Railroad. Branching off of the main line PRR at Huntingdon was the standard gauge Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad, constructed to haul coal from the tri-county corners of Broad Top Mountain. A short, two decades later the narrow gauge East Broad Top Railroad was built from Mount Union to the eastern side of the Broad Top Mountain and Coal Field to haul the “black diamonds” to the PRR.

With the advent of America’s industrial age and new transportation technologies, the steam railroad locomotive was replaced by diesel engines and the horse and buggies relinquished their place in rural Huntingdon County to the arrival of automobiles and airplanes. Today, the railroad continues to stop in Huntingdon to pick up passengers while freight from all parts of the nation roll through the region. Not far away, a busy U.S. Route 22 passes through the county making connections with major roadways like U.S. Route 522, state routes 45, 453, 26 and the celebrated Pennsylvania Turnpike which passes through the southeastern corner of the county.

At the heart of the county’s road, canal and railroad development was a growing economy which roots were planted in local industries like iron making, coal, coke and brick production, as well as agricultural and timbering interests. Although the industrial history of the county has seen many changes since the American Revolution the heritage of those early industries can be experienced at a number of historical attractions throughout Huntingdon County and at a variety of seasonal activities and events sponsored by nonprofit historical organizations.

The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau encourages visitors to stop by several, well known and time-honored transportation and industrial heritage attractions. More information about these attractions and other activities can be obtained at the HCVB’s visitor center at the Seven Points Recreation Area, or other visitor information facilities in the area.

Some of the attractions include: East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark at Rockhill Furnace, Rockhill Trolley Museum, located across from the EBT’s Orbisonia Station; Swigart Antique Auto Museum, east of Huntingdon; Isett Acres Museum, Huntingdon; a unique transportation and heritage exhibit found at the Raystown Lake Visitor Center; Allegrippis Trail system at Seven Points recreation Area; Lower Trail, near Alexandria; Greenwood Furnace State Park, in northeastern Huntingdon County; former PRR HUNT Signal Tower, in downtown Huntingdon and the nearby Huntingdon County Historical Society; Mount Union Area Historical Society, Fort Roberdeau, in Sinking Valley; Thousand Steps hiking trail near Mill Creek; and the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Museum and Friends of the East Broad Top Museum, both located in Robertsdale.

Numerous other historical societies in Huntingdon County also promote local history while several attractions have indirect links with the county’s history. They include Lincoln Caverns, Huntingdon; Indian Caverns, Spruce Creek; Penn’s Cave, near State College; Juniata College in Huntingdon and numerous state parks, scenic areas of the Rothrock State Forest District and a host of recreational trails scattered across the region.

About the Author

Ron Morgan is a native of Robertsdale, PA, and is a semi-retired reporter for the Huntingdon Daily News.  Ron is a founding member and current president of the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Heritage Association, which operates a museum in Robertsdale.

Categories: 2010 Visitors Guide, History, Things to Do | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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