Sightseeing in the West
These are the scenic wonders and places of interest in the northcentral part of Pennsylvania, which include old growth forest, waterfalls, gorges and a historic fort that was important to the formation of America.
* indicates non-native species
Pennsylvania's State Parks house many green giants, some of which are found here in the Big Tree listing. The Big Tree program is a record of the largest trees found in Pennsylvania's State Parks. Each species is recognized, allowing for a wide variety of big tree champions, from the 125-foot tall Red Oak at Cook Forest State Park to the 15-foot tall Witchhazel at Clear Creek State Park.
The process begins with a nomination by a park visitor or employee. This nomination can be based upon visual inspection of the tree and some simple measurements. Once a tree is nominated for the Big Tree program, the score must be determined by a forester.
There are three criteria for determining the score of a tree. Circumference is a measurement taken in inches at 4.5 feet above the base of the tree (circumference at breast height). One point is given for each inch of circumference. The second measurement is height, and is the distance in a straight line from the ground to the highest point of the tree. One point is awarded for every foot of height. The final criterion, average crown spread, requires two measurements. The first measurement is taken at the widest point of crown spread, the second from the narrowest point. The two values are added and divided by two to give the average crown spread. One point is awarded for every four feet of average crown spread. The points awarded for the three criteria are then added to produce a final score, which is used to determine a tree's rank among other Pennsylvania State Park Big Trees.
When visiting a Pennsylvania State Park, keep an eye out for these giants. There are undoubtedly big trees that have yet to be found in Pennsylvania's State Parks. If you see a tree that might be eligible for the Big Tree program, write down the location and give it to the park manager to begin the nomination process.
The best way to see wildlife is to sit quietly and remain still. For the best results, use binoculars and keep a safe distance between yourself and wildlife.
Please do not attempt to handle any wild animal. If an animal does not run away from approaching people, it might be sick or injured. If you observe any unusual behavior by wildlife, please contact a park employee immediately.