Snow Donuts Unusual Sightings
Inside the Outdoors, Febrary
7, 2014

It was reported on a Channel 11 television news report that snow donuts were observed on Clarion University’s campus. And sure enough, there they were as cameramen scanned the area capturing donut-shaped marvels that occurs rarely when conditions are right. Recently all elements fit together to form this unusual sighting.

According to, “A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind, picking up material along the way, in much the same way that the large snowball used in snowmen are made.”

The website continues, “Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are typically cylindrical in shape, and are often hollow since the inner layers, which are the first layers to form, are weak and thin compared to the outer layers and can easily be blown away, leaving what look like a doughnut or Swiss roll. Snow rollers have been seen to grow as large as two feet in diameter.”

There are specific conditions that have to be in place in order for these to occur:

  • The ground must be covered by a layer of ice to which snow will not stick.
  • The layer of ice must be covered by wet, loose snow with a temperature near the melting point of ice.
  • The wind must be strong enough to move the snow rollers, but not strong enough to blow them apart.
  • Alternatively, gravity can move the snow rollers as when a snowball, such as those that will fall from a tree or cliff, lands on steep hill and begins to roll down the hill. As a result, snow rollers are more common in hilly areas. However, the precise nature of the conditions required makes them a very rare phenomenon.

From an article published in the Seattle Times, dated March 17, 2007, written by Susan Gilmore, she noted that “Mike Stanford, an avalanche-control expert with the Washington State Department of Transportation, stated, “It’s only the second time in 30 years in working in the snow that he seen anything like it.”

The ones he saw were about 24 inches tall, “large enough for me to put my head through the hole.”


The Pennsylvania fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) voted at its quarterly meeting today to create a voluntary $1 youth fishing license and to dedicate the revenue generated from it to ]programs to increase youth fishing participation.

It will be available beginning Feb. 1 from all licensing agents and online through the PFBC’s \Outdoor Shop. With a $1 agent fee and a $0.70 transaction fee, the total cost to purchase the license will be $2.70.

Youth who plan to participate in the upcoming Mentored Youth Fishing Days must obtain either \a voluntary youth fishing license or a free mentored youth fishing permit. It is not necessary to obtain both. The Mentored Youth Fishing Days are scheduled for March 22 and April 5. More information is available at


Anglers recently reported cashing in on some nice-sized fish from Somerset County’s High Point Lake. Caught by fishers of all ages were an15.5-inch crappie, a 25-inch largemouth bass and chain pickerel up to 25 inches. Sportsmen also hauled in nice-sized yellow perch and walleye. The bait used were shiners.


The National Wild Turkey Federation urges Congress to support the bipartisan Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill. This is the largest piece of legislation that directs conservation and ensures upland habitat sustainability on farmlands across the country.

Key Conservation components that benefit the country’s wildlife and natural resources are dedicated funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Programs, the extension of stewardship contracting, mandatory funding for thinning and burning in the Conservation Reserve Program lands, mandatory funding for voluntary hunter access programs, funding for CRP million acres and forestry provisions that strengthen forest management.

Please contact your congressional leaders and ask them to support this vital legislation which is crucial to preserving wild turkey and upland wildlife habitat and achieving Save the Habitat and hunt objectives.


Received a report last week that two eagles and a pair of eaglets were seen in Ross Mountain Park, New Florence. I was notified because of a story I had done previously on these birds.


Tickets are still available for the Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited Banquet and Raffle at the Latrobe American Legion, 1800 Ligonier Street. Tickets are $30 each. They may be obtained at Ligonier Outfitters and Newsstand, 127 W. Main St., Ligonier; Paul J. Volkmann, Cooperstown Event Center, 2541 Thomas St., Latrobe on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or online from the FTTU website – Each purchaser gets a choice of either a stuffed chicken breast or pork chop dinner. Please specify when ordering tickets. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Keep in mind, this is the ONLY FUNDRAISER FTTU has annually, so any support is vital to maintaining the organization’s objectives of conservation, restoration of resources and education of youth and women.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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