HARRISBURG, Pa., July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry invites hikers and other visitors to again sample the rugged beauty of Sproul State Forest when a three-day "Prowl the Sproul" series of hikes steps off Friday, July 24.
Marking its 12th year, the increasingly popular hiking program links forest visitors with guides from the Bureau of Forestry, Keystone Trails Association and local civic and sportsmen's groups.
"Thousands of mountainous, unspoiled acres to explore are what keeps 'Prowl the Sproul' participants coming back year after year from across the state," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. "This unique invitation is extended by the folks who best know this forest district amid the Pennsylvania Wilds."
DCNR and KTA guides have selected many of the most popular trails in Sproul State Forest, including a new section of the Donut Hole; new hikes near Kettle Creek State Park; Eagleton Mine Camp Trail; Chuck Keiper; and a hike on the T-Squared Trail in memory of Tom Thwaites, who wrote "50 Hikes in Central Pa." This year, the event will again feature new hikes, and guides will lead hikers off the beaten path to see some of the lesser-known, natural jewels of Sproul State Forest.
Dunn noted hikes are planned to waterfalls, overlooks, old railroad grades, unique woodlands and flora that "make Sproul truly unique among our 20 state forest districts." Guided hikes ranging from 3.5 to 10 miles offer hikers a variety of difficulty levels, terrain and scenery before 'Prowl the Sproul XII" events close Sunday, July 26.
"If you are a newcomer to the joys of hiking, there's no better way to be introduced than with skilled, knowledgeable group leaders guiding you to some of the most scenic hiking areas in the state," Dunn noted.
In total, the weekend will feature 17 guided hikes: two on Friday; 10 Saturday; and five Sunday. Participants are advised to register early as each hike will be limited to 20 participants.
Seasoned veterans or those seeking to challenge themselves can sign up - limited to the first 20 individuals - for the Chuck Keiper Slackpack. The event will cover 45 miles on the eastern half of the Donut Hole Trail over the three-day weekend. Register via the KTA website: www.kta-hike.org.
"DCNR and KTA have missions that overlap in many areas but most importantly they come together on the footpaths and trails of Pennsylvania's forests," said Keystone Trails Association Executive Director Joseph Neville. "Prowl the Sproul is the perfect blend of government and the nonprofit sector coming together to provide a high-quality outdoor recreational experience for people wanting to hike, enjoy nature and participate in a healthy activity. We look forward to this exciting event and many more with our partners at DCNR."
Besides the KTA, DCNR's Bureau of Forestry again is teaming up with the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association to introduce association members and the public to the wealth of hiking opportunities found in north central Pennsylvania.
Food and lodging options are available for the weekend, but reservations must be made. Visit the KTA website -- www.kta-hike.org -- to download a registration form. For general information, contact Sproul State Forest District Office, 15187 Renovo Road, Renovo, 570-923-6011; or visit the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
A week prior to Prowl the Sproul hiking weekend, the PA Trail Dogs will host the seventh annual Prowl the Sproul 10K on Saturday, July 18. The course features a grueling 3-mile climb from the Western Clinton County Sportsmen's Environmental Education Center to the top of Little McCloskey Hollow and then 3.5-miles of downhill trail. Organized by sponsors of the Hyner View Challenge, the race is billed as among the most challenging 10Ks in the state. Participants can register by emailing Craig Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organized in 1956, KTA is a 1,300-member umbrella organization made up of 44 hiking and outdoors organizations in and around Pennsylvania.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources