On Saturday, April 21, 2012, “registered crazies” will participate in either a 25K or 50K as part of the Hyner View Trail Challenge. As in previous years, The Nature Conservancy’s West Branch Forest Preserve in north-central Pennsylvania is playing host to participants, who for part of the race will traverse the property. The Conservancy’s agreement with race coordinators not only provides runners with an ideal venue, but also benefits the preserve.
In preparation for the event, the trail running community has volunteered their time at the preserve developing and restoring trails—freeing up time for staff and other volunteers to focus their efforts on other important conservation projects. So far, the runners have worked on about 15 miles of trails at West Branch, both reopening overgrown trails and creating new paths that connect to Sproul State Forest and Hyner View State Park. Long term goals for the Conservancy, the new trails that connect up with the state-run system will provide additional opportunities for hikers to explore this unique landscape.
Situated within the Pennsylvania Wilds Region and in the heart of the High Allegheny Plateau, West Branch Forest has much to offer. Adjoined by state forest land and in close proximity to Hyner View State Park, a popular hang gliding area, this region is a recreational paradise. An extensive network of old logging roads and trails provides ample opportunity to experience this working forest landscape.
Visitors to the area will experience unspoiled scenic views that stretch nearly 40 miles across mountains to the northwest and southeast. Deep forested ravines and associated high quality native brook trout streams course through the property, making their way to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Rugged mountainous hillsides support a diversity of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, grouse, timber rattlesnake, bobcat, numerous warblers and birds of prey and native brook trout.
Not designed for the leisure runner or walker, the Hyner View Trail Challenge course is meant to challenge people, both physically and mentally. Participants will be met with steep hills, rocky terrain and…exceptional views—the view from the top of Hyner Mountain is one of the most spectacular in the state.
More information, including registration, maps, images and more can be found at hikerun.com