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Southwest Region
Gallitzin State Forest
Gallitzin State Forest At the Lookout © Trent Gutshall
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The Gallitzin State Forest was named in honor of Dimetrius Augustine Gallitzin, Prince-Priest of the Alleghenies, who established a mission at Loretto in Cambria Country in 1795.

The Gallitzin State Forest consists of 2 separate areas of State Forest land located in Northern Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Northern Somerset counties. The total area of State Forest land is 15,336 acres.

The Babcock Division in Northern Somerset Country with 13,482 acres is the largest Division of the Gallitzin State Forest. The very scenic Babcock State Forest Picnic Area is located along Route 56, four miles east of Windber. The Clear Shade Wild Area, the John P. Saylor Trail and the Lost Turkey Trail are all located in this Division south of Route 56 and provide additional recreational opportunities.

All State Forest lands are open to hunting, fishing and general recreation.

The Charles F. Lewis Natural Area is located at the western end of the Rager Mountain Division near Cramer in Indiana County. This 384 acre unique scenic area has been preserved as a Natural Area. A two mile foot trail, the Clark Run Trail, winds through the scenic Clark Run Gorge with its numerous small waterfalls and interesting geologic features.

As part of the statewide wildfire protection system, two forest fire observation towers are strategically located throughout the district and command excellent views of the surrounding country. These fire towers communicate with the District Office Headquarters by two-way radio and telephones.
History of the Area
Gallitzin State Forest, located in central Pennsylvania, has a rich history that spans over a century. Here is a brief overview of its historical background:

- Early Settlement: The region that is now Gallitzin State Forest was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Susquehannocks and later the Iroquois Confederacy. European settlers began to arrive in the mid-18th century, primarily of German and Irish descent, establishing small homesteads and farms.

- Coal Mining Era: In the late 19th century, the area experienced a boom in coal mining. The rich coal seams attracted numerous mining companies, leading to the development of several mining towns and the establishment of railroads to transport the coal. These towns included Barnesboro, Hastings, and Patton, which have now become part of the forest.

- Deforestation and Conservation Efforts: The rapid deforestation caused by the logging industry, coupled with uncontrolled hunting, led to the depletion of wildlife and degradation of the forest's natural resources. Recognizing the need for conservation, the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters began acquiring land in the early 20th century to establish state forest reserves. In 1936, the area was officially designated as Gallitzin State Forest, named after Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, a Catholic priest who played a significant role in the region's religious and social development.

- Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Projects: During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal work relief program, was instrumental in developing and improving Gallitzin State Forest. CCC workers constructed roads, bridges, firetowers, and recreational facilities, as well as planted trees to mitigate the effects of deforestation.

- Modern Recreation and Conservation Efforts: Today, Gallitzin State Forest offers numerous recreational opportunities, including camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Several lakes, such as Glendale Lake and Prince Gallitzin State Park, provide additional recreational activities. The forest is managed with a focus on sustainable forest practices, including timber harvesting and wildlife habitat conservation. It continues to be an important ecological and recreational resource for the community and visitors alike.

Gallitzin State Forest has transformed from a heavily logged and industrialized region to a conservation area that provides scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities to people in and around Pennsylvania.
1. Clear Shade Wild Area: This is a 3000-acre area within the Gallitzin State Forest that offers primitive camping options for those who want to be close to nature.

2. Babcock Picnic Area Campground: Located near Windber, this campground has picnic tables and fire rings available for campers.

3. Lost Turkey Trail Shelter Areas: There are several shelter areas along the trail where hikers can set up their tents or hammocks overnight.

4. John P Saylor Trail Shelters & Camping Sites: These sites offer more established facilities including shelters, tent pads, fire pits and latrines located at regular intervals along the trail.

5. Primitive Backpacking/Camping: The state forest allows dispersed backpacking/camping in many parts of its land with certain restrictions (like staying away from water sources).

6. Willis Mountain Cabin: A rustic cabin rental option inside Gallitzin State Forest which accommodates up to six people comfortably.

7. Rustic Organized Group Tenting Site: An organized group tent site designed specifically for non-profit groups such as scouts or churches etc., accommodating upto twenty individuals per night on average basis.
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1. John P. Saylor Trail: This 18-mile trail is named after Congressman John P. Saylor who was a strong advocate for conservation and the environment during his time in office from 1949-1973.

2. Lost Turkey Trail: A challenging, long-distance hiking route that stretches over approximately 26 miles through both Gallitzin State Forest and Blue Knob State Park.

3. Bog & Boulder Trail: An easy to moderate loop of about two miles which takes hikers past an impressive boulder field as well as wetland areas known locally as 'bogs'.

4. The Allegheny Front Trail (AFT): Although only part of this extensive trail network lies within Gallitzin state forest boundaries, it offers stunning views across Pennsylvania's ridge-and-valley region with its diverse flora and fauna.

5. Babcock Division Trails System: It includes several interconnected trails totaling around five miles in length; these are primarily used by mountain bikers but also open to hikers looking for shorter routes or loops within the park area.

6. Clear Shade Wild Area Hiking Loop: Approximately three mile hike featuring beautiful wildflowers along Clear Shade Creek.

7. Wopsononock Lookout via Rock'n RidgeTrail: Roughly four mile out-and-back trek leading up Wopsy Mountain offering panoramic vistas at lookout point.

8. Charles F Lewis Natural Area Loop- Two: mile round trip showcasing old growth hemlock trees alongside Roaring Run stream.

9. Sweet Root Natural Area Pathway: Short half-a-miler walk ideal for birdwatching amidst dense hardwood forests.

10. Mowry Hollow Nature Walk: Easy one-mile stroll suitable even for beginners exploring native plant species under mixed oak canopy.

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Area Campgrounds
Nature's Getaway RV Park
147 Sleepy Hollow Road
Schellsburg, PA
Choice Camping Court
209 Choice Campground Road
Manns Choice, PA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Shiner Bait & Tackle
3979 Quaker Valley Rd
Alum Bank, PA
(814) 839-4023
Pcola's Lures
516 5th St
St Michael, PA
(814) 495-5007

1. From the east or west: Take Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) to Exit 110 at Somerset.
2. After exiting the turnpike, merge onto US:219 North towards Johnstown/Altoona.
3. Continue on US:219 North for approximately 30 miles until you reach Ebensburg.
4. In Ebensburg, take the exit toward PA:53 South/Main Street from US-22 West.
5. Merge onto PA:53 South/Main Street and continue straight through town.

If coming from another direction:
6a.From north: Follow your preferred route to connect with I-80 Eastbound.
7a.Take I:99 south near Bellefonte.
8a.Continue past Altoona where it becomes Route U.S.:220 S/I:99S.
9. Merge right off this road via an interchange that connects directly into Rt.:36 N/South Eagle Valley Road.


6b.From south/west/east:Follow your best route connecting with either Pa-TurnPike E/W then proceed as above; Or use alternate routes such as Routes -322E /Rt.-764N/Rt.-453N etc., which will eventually lead you back up here along Rte-U.S./I-.U-S .Route-I.U-S.Routes-US-Roads--US-Highway-Northwardly-Eastern-Western-Pennsylvania-Central-Mid-State-Alleghenies-Laurel Highlands-Johnstown-Ebensburg-Bedford-Ligonier-Duncansville-Gallitizin-Forest-Recreation-Area-Wildlife-Managment-Trails-Outdoor Activities-.

10. Once on Rt..36 head approximatley due:northeast about ten(10)miles to the village of Ashville.
11. In town, turn left onto Main Street (PA:53 South) and continue straight.

From here:
12. Continue on PA:53 South for approximately 8 miles until you reach Gallitzin.
13. Look for signs indicating entrance points or specific areas within the state forest that you wish to visit. The forest is spread out over a large area, so it's helpful to have a map or GPS device handy.

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Pennsylvania State Parks