The Scotia Barrens, located just west of State College, is one of Pennsylvania’s unique natural wonders. This rare habitat is one of the largest examples of pitch pine-scrub oak barrens remaining in our state and it is home to a unique micro-climate that makes the area cooler than the surrounding region. This makes it an extraordinary home for a wide variety of wildlife, a primary source of groundwater, and a wonderful place to teach the next generation about the natural world.
While it is now used primarily for recreation, the area was formerly occupied by the town of Scotia. Like much of central Pennsylvania, the Barrens were logged extensively in the mid-1800's to support the charcoal and iron industries. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie purchased the land in the 1880's to mine for iron ore for his steel mills. Lasting reminders of the iron industry, including building ruins and ore pits still exist in the woods today. The Pennsylvania Game Commission acquired the land in the 1940’s and still manages the area–also known as State Game Lands 176.
The Scotia Barrens is a unique place to explore. Miles of trails cater to hunters, hikers, birders and bikers, while the habitat supports important wildlife. The uniqueness of the habitat and the barrens' geographic proximity to State College make it one of the most frequented outdoor recreation areas in the region.
ClearWater Conservancy is working to connect, protect, and grow the natural wonders like Scotia Barrens. By working collaboratively with local landowners and natural resource professionals, we're helping expand and steward this important ecosystem. As our community continues to grow, ClearWater continues to find ways that protect this important place
for us, the next generation and all the species that rely on it.