Directions: Take I-79 north to Exit 116 to head east on I‑80. Travel I-80 east to Exit 29 Barkeyville/PA 8. Travel PA 8 north about 16 miles to Franklin. In Franklin, turn left onto 13th Street to pick up US322 West and PA 417. Travel PA 417 north 12 miles. Turn left onto PA 8 North in Cherrytree and continue about 6 1/2 miles to Titusville.
At the traffic light just before the Oil Creek bridge, turn right onto Bloss St toward Drake Well Museum. Go a mile or so to the Jersey Bridge Parking Area on the right, before the other bridge over Oil Creek. Meet at the parking lot.
GPS coordinates: 41.6159, -79.6582
Old railroad grades are noted for a diversity of wildflowers, and the Oil Creek Bike Trail is exceptionally diverse. Afterwards, Robert has invited us to visit the native plant gardens and nursery at his McMullen House B&B.
Directions: From Pittsburgh, take the PA Turnpike to Exit 91 – Donegal. Turn left onto PA 31 East and travel 2.1 miles. Turn right at a traffic light onto PA 711/ PA 381 South and continue 10 miles to a T in Normalville. Turn left onto PA 381 and continue 11 miles to Ohiopyle. Drive through the town and make a right onto SR 2019/Kentuck Road. Travel less than a half mile and turn right into the parking lot for Cucumber Falls.
Directions: Take the PA Turnpike into Ohio and continue to Exit 218 Jackson Interchange for I-76W. Travel I-76 west for 21 miles to Exit 38 (OH‑5/OH‑44). Turn right onto OH-44 for 1/2 mile then keep left to continue on S Prospect St for 1/2 mile. Turn left onto Sandy Lake Rd. Travel 1.1 mile to the Nature Preserve’s parking area on the left. Meet in the parking lot.
GPS coordinates: 41.1235, -81.2631
We will explore the blooming leatherleaf and budding tamaracks at this “kettle hole” bog with a cold deepwater lake at its center. After we explore Triangle, we will head 10 miles north to explore fen, bog, woodland and beaver ponds of Herrick Fen Nature Preserve. The sites can be enjoyed from the boardwalk and trails, so there is no need to wear waterproof knee boots. No pets are allowed in these state natural areas.
Little Sewickley Creek outside of Herminie, Westmoreland County This is a favorite trip for early spring ephemerals and Snow Trillium. The walk is along a muddy old railroad grade with some minor obstacles. Directions: We will meet at a large community parking lot and then carpool about 1/2 mile downhill to the walking trail.
GPS coordinates of the parking lot = (40.26126, -79.72123). This is across from the Dairy Queen (1493 Herminie West Newton Rd) and the local convenience store/gas station. If you are late, you can join us at the trailhead (40.26050, -79.72700), but parking may be tricky.
GPS coordinates: 40.26126, -79.72123.
If you need written directions to the site, please contact Loree at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-518-6022.
Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel PA 51 south to its junction with PA 201 (just after Bills and Willowbrook Plaza). Continuing on PA 51, travel 2 additional miles to the traffic light for Concord Ln (Honda and Ford car dealership on right) and turn left. Traveling on Concord Ln, turn left onto Municipal Dr. Continue about 0.6 mile past Timm’s Lane, and turn left into the main entrance to Cedar Creek Park. Follow this road downhill, cross the bike trail, and turn left to continue through a series of parking lots until you reach the farthest parking lot, near the Gorge Trail.
Monroe Trailhead, Butler Freeport Trail, Butler County
Directions: From Pittsburgh: take PA-28 North to Exit 17 (PA-356/Butler/Freeport). At end of ramp, turn right to travel PA-356 for a little less than a mile. At the Sheetz, turn right onto Monroe Road and travel about 0.8 mile to the parking for the Buffalo Creek Nature Center on the left.
GPS coordinates: 40.7076, -79.7131
This trip could be canceled due to unsafe driving conditions with ice and snow (BUT THE FORECAST LOOKS PRETTY GOOD!); to learn if the trip is canceled when weather conditions are uncertain, please call or text Loree at 724-518-6022 the day of the hike.
Come join the Westmoreland Land Trust for an Earth Day celebration of wildflowers along the rich wooded slopes of Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve. The first part of the walk is an easy stroll along Old Dirt Road Trail. Those who wish to continue on a moderate walk can join us down the Wedding Trail for waterfalls and trilliums. Along the floodplain of Blue Dell Run, see more flowers, and learn about recent tree and shrub plantings, and new interpretive signs. We will practice social distancing. See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html for ways to enjoy the outdoors. Stay home if you do not feel well. Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. Wear a mask. Everyone of all ages is welcome, and no need to register. Attend with walking shoes that can get muddy. If you have any questions, please contact Loree Speedy at email@example.com or 724-518-6022. Directions: To reach the reserve from points east (Greensburg/ Irwin turnpike interchange) – From Turnpike, travel US 30 WEST (toward Pgh). Travel US 30 for 4.8 miles to turn right onto Leger Road. There is a Sheetz on the left corner (but get in right lane).Turn right onto Leger Road and travel (bearing left at any Y’s) through the countryside for 2 miles. (Ignore the closed road signs as they are referring to the bridge over Brush Creek). At the base of a hill, continue straight onto Ardara Road when Leger Road turns right. At the top of a hill, look for the green Ackermann Nature Preserve sign on the left and park at the end of the grassy strip between two homes. It may look like you are turning into a lawn, but you will see the kiosk at the end of grassy strip. GPS coordinates: 40.36105, -79.74410 – The GPS directions may direct you to turn right off of US 30 before Sheetz.
I’d like to wish all of you a peaceful and productive New Year. I’d also like to remind you that in the coming years our future demands that we all must make well informed, conscientious decisions in all aspects of our lives and society — decisions that take into account their long term effect on the environment. These decisions can only be made by people who are not only committed to environmental responsibility, but have an understanding of the interdependence of all living things, the need for the diversity of all forms and all phases of life and the potential problems of unrestrained human population growth. These decisions must be made by people who believe we have a moral responsibility to future generations to protect and restore the earth, its life, its communities and its processes. These goals and commitments must be shared, not only by all segments of our society, but by every other nation on Earth. However, the environmental legacy of the twentieth century is threatened with this reality: unless we avoid some deadly pitfalls the environmental triumphs we’ve achieved and the challenges we must continue to address will soon be cast aside. Remember personal survival always takes precedence. Environmental responsibility and understanding require spiritual, moral and intellectual growth; something that cannot occur in people that live in a world of poverty, injustice, desperation and despair. I spent Christmas Eve,1967, at a Marine Base in Da Nang, Viet Nam. It was uncharacteristically somber for a Marine Base, probably because of the holiday. Most of us tried to sleep. The marines in the base were mostly young recruits, new to the country, waiting for assignment. There were also some older marines returning to their outfits. I was no longer one of them. I was waiting for a flight to Okinawa, then a discharge and home. I was much older, a hardened veteran, someone who’d seen the war and returned to tell about it. But I wasn’t talking much. I was 22. I remember that night vividly. I couldn’t sleep. I just lay in my cot and listened to the new marines whimper as they thought about their limited future, the inevitability and the proximity of their violent ends. Occasionally, one of the returning marines would wake up and scream in terror. I felt fear that night more deeply than I ever had before. Unlike my companions, I was not afraid of a paralyzing, disfiguring injury or a violent, bloody death. I had resigned myself to that months before. I feared that with only a week or so left, that I successfully avoided the inevitable. I would not die. Instead I would return home and face a future that I could not imagine, no matter how hard I tried. I would return to a family and friends I no longer knew. I would be forced to deal with a hostile society and my own bitterness. I would be expected to have emotions; to make responsible decisions; to find solutions other than attack or retreat. When I returned home, I was not a responsible, contributing citizen. My adjustment was long and painful. We cannot expect people who live in fear; who live under the threat of violence, either sanctioned by governments, or from individuals or groups, to make decisions that consider the future and the common good. Violence, fear, intolerance, hatred, poverty and despair are all barriers to a sound environmental future. I’d like to wish you peace in the new year, but instead I implore you to aggressively pursue it.