Highway Renamed/DCNR Reveals Projects
Inside the Outdoors, April 29
, 2011

When one thinks of Route 30, it’s habitually thought of as a highway that extends across the United States. This first road across America starts in New York City and stretches all the way out to San Francisco. But how many people call it by its name – the Lincoln Highway? This throughway was given this designation in 1913.

In 1995, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge designated a six-county area (from just east of Pittsburgh to beyond Gettyburg) along the historic Lincoln Highway, as the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. It is one of 12 heritage areas in the state.

According to Olga Herbert, executive director of the LHHC, “We work hard to preserve and promote the communities that lie along this historic route, as well as increasing economic development through tourism.”

These facts and other information concerning the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources and the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry were revealed at the 2011 DCNR Public Meeting held recently at the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry Headquarters in Laughlintown.

“Sometimes it’s Rt. 30 on which people travel, and sometimes it’s a braided route,” she said. “Lincoln Highway comes right through Ligonier. It’s not all Rt. 30, but Main St.” She went on to say, “If you want people to ride the Lincoln Highway you have to provide interest along the route.”

To back up her statement she added, “We have a mural in Somerset County and 65 interpretative exhibits. More important, it’s the stories that happened all along Lincoln Highway including picture yourself exhibits and cutouts where people are able to get behind cutouts and have their pictures taken. In addition, we have had 22 gas pumps painted by professional arts, distributed book covers for children to 69 school districts and worked with students from public schools and career/technology schools, once known as vo-tech schools, to create subjects of interest to be seen along the Highway.

The second person to address a crowd of 50 onlookers was Doug Finger, park manager of Linn Run and Laurel Mountain State Park Complex. He stated, in relationship to the latter, that currently the DCNR has a concession agreement with Seven Springs to operate the downhill ski resort.

“We are looking to do some improvements at every aspects of the mountain. If all goes well and the capital money is available in this economy, we should see some construction later on this year or early next year with an opening date of 2012 or 2013.”

One of the first ski areas opened in the state, today, he said, it is pretty much unchanged as it was in the early days.

In talking about Linn Run, Finger divulged that 610 acres of three state parks are part of the Linn Run Complex featuring rustic cabins, Flat Rock Trail and picnic areas. “There are 1000 people in the Park at any given time,” he said.

He furthered by stating that much has been done to Linn Run stream.

“Stream improvements have been made,” he said, “including widening the bank, purifying the stream quality so that fish could live in its waters and relocating the channel. This was made possible by many volunteers from organizations including the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I also worked closely with the Ligonier Valley and Greater Latrobe School Districts in assisting FTTU in a state-wide program called Trout in the Classroom. Over 500 7th graders are taught about raising trout from eggs to fingerlings. The students then let them go in Linn Run.” In praising FTTU, he also noted that the organization helped tremendously in improving Rock Run.

He then expounded on his other responsibilities including protecting rare plants in the Complex. “We have wildflower sanctuaries throughout the roads in Forbes State Park. Along Linn Run Road all the way up to the mountain, it is really pretty all through the year."

Concerning native tree replacement on Lynn Run, he said, “We had a lot of volunteer labor work done thanks to members of FTTU.

“Through our achievements,” he stated, the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks voted us best in the nation.”

Ed Callahan, district forester for the PA DCNR Bureau of Forests and fire warden outlined the mission of he Bureau as managing Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland Counties. “Part of our job includes protecting the state forests against diseases, extinguishing fires, fighting invasive insects, promoting forest product industry and making sure the water purification system is not screwed up in 60,000 acres.”

Callahan gave reference to the fact that Forbes State Forest was the first state forest to be certified under the forest stewardship council principles and recertified every year. It’s a pretty stringent process of which we are pretty proud.”

As part of the Bureau’s future endeavors, “We plan to improve the picnic area in Lick Hollow Forest near Uniontown, put two new bridges on the Johnstown Run Road and make the Spruce Flats Bog accessible for handicapped people. We also plan to redesign the deck making it lower to the bog so people can get the experience of not digging out the pitcher plants. In addition, since we have three caves in Forbes State Forest, we are going to open them up to the public.”

In conjunction with the economy cuts, Callahan said, “We are doing the best we can with what we have.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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