LAUREL SUMMIT STATE PARK
This scenic picnic area is operated by the Bureau of State Parks. The 6-acre area offers picnic tables, a pavilion, water, and restroom. The area is 2,739 feet above sea level and several degrees cooler than surrounding towns. This area also provides trailhead parking for Spruce Flats bog and Wolf Rocks Trail. Laurel Summit is a carry in/carry out area. Please take all of your trash with you.
The Linn Run Forest is located in the heart of the Laurel Mountains. The mountainous land ranges from 1300 to 2800 feet above sea level. Most of the land was bought from the Byers and Allen Lumber Company for $42,662. When this land was acquired by the Commonwealth in 1909, it was the first major public purchase of denuded forest land made in the Ohio River Basin. Today, it is difficult to visualize what this land looked like in 1909 or to imagine that some people questioned the wisdom of purchasing so much "waste land".
About fifteen years prior to the acquisition of the Linn Run property, this entire area was clearcut. The virgin forest was transformed into an area devoid of timber and wildlife. Treetops littered the area. Sawlogs were sold for lumber. Small logs were used for props in nearby coal mines. Hemlock bark, a source of tannin, was bundled and shipped to tanneries. The railroad that hauled timber and other products to market caused many severe fires.
In his first report (September 1909), Forester John R. Williams wrote, "I should say that fully three-fifths of the reserve has been burned over since lumbering was done. The fires did great damage to the young growth. Some places are covered with nothing but ferns and blackberry bushes." Occasional scars from those early fires can still be seen after years of forest rehabilitation.
In 1910, the newly formed Pennsylvania Game Commission cooperated with the former Department of Forestry to restock deer. White-tail deer were imported from New York and Michigan for release throughout Pennsylvania. Today's deer herd came from stock released.
Interesting traces of the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland and Somerset Railroad that serviced the area remain to this day. The main line extended from Rector to Somerset. Because of heavy loads, the tracks switched back and forth across Linn Run several times. A short distance along the Fish Run Trail, you will find traces of the old railroad bed.
The Laurel Mountain ski area, the first major ski resort in western Pennsylvania, was formerly owned and operated by General Richard K. Mellon. Started in 1939 as a private facility by Rolling Rock, it was opened to the public following World War II and became popularly known as the "Ski Capital of Pennsylvania." It served thousands of skiers from the Pittsburgh region.
In September of 1963, General Mellon leased this tract of land and all its improvements to the Commonwealth. In the summer of 1964, he gave the property to the Commonwealth.
Linn Run State Park has cabins, picnicking, hiking, fishing and hunting.
Laurel Mountain State Park is comprised of 493 acres in Westmoreland County. To reach the park go eight miles east of Ligonier or five miles west of Jennerstown on U.S. Route 30, then turn south on Laurel Summit Road and travel for two miles.
Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset county offers camping, hunting, organized group tenting, organized group camps, boating, fishing, and swimming on 65-acre Laurel Hill Lake. Environmental education programs are also offered.
Kooser State Park is a 250-acre wooded area, with cabins, camping, group tenting, swimming and fishing.
Laurel Ridge State Park The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile backpacking trail, goes from Ohiopyle, PA to the Conemaugh River near Johnstown.
Forbes State Forest is over 50,000 acres of land that includes six state parks, three state forest picnic areas and large areas for undeveloped recreation.
For information on local attractions, contact: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, Town Hall, 120 East Main Street, Ligonier, PA 15658, 800-925-7669.
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Laurel Hill Trout Lodge
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