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US Agriculture Department to host Walk In Penn’s Woods event on October 1

As part of the Walk in Penn’s Woods event, the USDA Forest Service announced a free guided walk on the Laurel Mill Cross-Country Ski and Hiking Trail in the Allegheny National Forest from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 1.

Walk leaders will discuss efforts to deal with the glossy buckthorn infestation on the trail, and identify other invasive plants. The walk is co-sponsored by the Allegheny National Forest and the North Central Forest Landowners Association.

Walkers should come prepared for the weather, bring water, and protect themselves from ticks and biting insects. The walk will be about one mile on fairly level terrain. Pets are not allowed on this guided walk. Registration is not required. Walkers should meet at the Laurel Mill Trailhead located three miles west of Ridgway on Hallton Road.

Walk in Penn’s Woods is a statewide coordinated event on the first Sunday in October, that encourages people across Pennsylvania to learn how their local woods work, see forests in new ways, and appreciate the forests so that we can work together to care for them.

Glossy and common buckthorns are native to Eurasia and were imported, cultivated, and sold for use as wildlife habitats, hedges, and windbreaks. These shrubs proved to be highly invasive and fast-growing. They threaten forest health by out-competing native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture. Buckthorn thickets can grow up to 25 feet tall and impede the movement of hunters, hikers, and wildlife in the forest.

For more information on the Walk in Penn’s Woods at the Laurel Mill Ski Trail contact april.moore@usda.gov.

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