The Pennsylvania Wilds is a special place in America, with as much land as Yellowstone National Park, and larger than Massachusetts or Vermont or New Hampshire.
Natural resources and conservation are at the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds lifestyle and economy. The region is proud of our vast natural resources and wild spaces that we are protecting for generations to come.
PA Wilds Land and Stewardship Facts
Land Area and Population
The Pennsylvania Wilds covers 25% of the Commonwealth’s land area, and is home to a very proud 4% of the state’s population. 2.1 million acres of the forestland in the Pennsylvania Wilds is public land.
The region contains 65% of the state’s significant ecosystems like boreal bogs and old growth forests, as well as 70% of the state’s finest headwaters.
The Pennsylvania Wilds has 16,000 miles of flowing water, including 2,067 wild trout streams and 213 stocked trout streams. There are 16 water impoundments (lakes, ponds, reservoirs) totaling 20,278 surface acres of water.
The Pennsylvania Wilds contains 1.3 million acres of state forestland. Much of this land is managed in consistency with the sustainable forest management principles of the Forest Stewardship Council — the largest area of certified public forestland in North America. This land includes 7 state-designated wild areas and nearly 50,000 acres of state-designated natural areas.
Other Publicly Accessible Forest Lands
The Pennsylvania Wilds is home to the 513,00 acre Allegheny National Forest (including 90,000 acres federally designated as “wilderness”) and 300,000 acres of state gamelands.
Pennsylvania Wilds State Parks
29 state parks
1,500 miles designated snowmobile trails; 1,100 miles of hiking trails; over 100 miles equestrian trails; 134 miles on 10 rail trails.
Old Growth Forests
The Pennsylvania Wilds contains 13 designated Old Growth forests representing many different ecosystems, not only deep classic ‘big tree’ forests.
Other Land & Stewardship Facts
The first PA game lands and first PA state forest lands ever purchased were in the Pennsylvania Wilds. Pennsylvania’s only National Forest is in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The region has more Civilian Conservation Corps camps than most states. Howard Zahniser drew inspiration from the Pennsylvania Wilds to pen the nation’s still standing Wilderness Act of 1964. It is here that today you’ll find America’s largest block of FSC-certified public forestland.
PA Wilds Land and Stewardship Questions & Answers
Q: Why is it important to preserve and manage large expanses of continuous forest?
As large landscapes change hands and become fragmented and split into parcels, they are often threatened with significant changes in land use. These threats impact the forest’s ability to clean the air and filter the water, protect critical habitat for wildlife, and keep local jobs and rural economies intact.