The Keystone Hiker - April 2023


KTA News & Updates

KTA Welcomes First Ever

Manager of Communications & Membership

Holly Tritt has been exploring PA's trails her whole life, yet still has ground to cover. She is grateful and excited to begin this new adventure with KTA as Manager of Communications and Membership.

Her deeply rooted appreciation of the Earth impacts all aspects of her life, even including the way she approaches marketing. "Everything in nature has a specific role and benefit to offer. Each element and form of life comes together to create a vibrant community," she says, "Similarly, I see communication, design, and storytelling as parts of a healthy marketing ecosystem."

Holly lives in Carlisle, PA along the Conodoguinet Creek (a Native American name for the creek that means "A Long Way With Many Bends") with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.

KTA Council Representative at Large Nominees

The KTA Nominating Committee has selected candidates to serve as Representatives at Large on the Council to replace Jenn Ulmer and Linda Elders Roxberry, who have left their Council positions to join the staff and board of directors respectively. Elections will be held at the Spring Meeting in Wellsboro, PA. The nominees are:

Meet Kathy Borrell

"I've lived in Chester County, PA all my life. Growing up, we were always outside playing. This helped steer me towards getting a degree in Health & Physical Education and working in the field of education.

About 19 years ago, feeling a need to be outdoors more, I joined the Chester County Trail Club. I'm presently their Club President along with being the Wednesday Hike Coordinator. I lead hikes, do trail maintenance, and participate in their Adopt-A-Highway program. I've been the club trail master (most miles hiked in a year), 12 times, and in June 2022, I achieved a club milestone of 25,000 miles. Aside from KTA, I hold memberships in the AMC, ATC, GMC, the Boy Scouts of America (as a scouter and merit badge counselor) and my church.

Hiking has taken me on numerous adventures, here and abroad. Overseas trips have included Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, New Zealand, Austria, Patagonia, but the highlight was going to and summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro. I've been to many of the U.S. National Parks (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Olympic, Rainer, Yosemite and others) but my favorite trails have always been the ones in PA.

I've earned 5 of the KTA Hiking Awards and presently working towards finishing the State Forest Trails Award. I've completed the AT, Long Trail, Susquehannock Trail System, Mid-State Trail and numerous other PA trails. Several years ago, I started coming to KTA weekends, and instantly felt welcomed into the fold of like-minded hiking individuals.

It's an honor to be nominated to serve as a Rep-At-Large for KTA and would proudly serve such a strong organization that supports the trails in PA."

Meet Pradip Bhatnagar

"I was born in India in a small town. After finishing my M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry, I came to the US and obtained my MS and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Did postdoctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas and became an Associate Research Professor at the  University of California San Francisco. Joined Beckman Instrument for couple of years. This company merged with SmithKline Beckman (which is now GSK). The company moved me to the Philadelphia area. After a career of  two and a half  decades,  that included six months of living in Oslo Norway and Linz, Austria, I moved back to India to head research for Ranbaxy and Daiichi Sankyo- India. Retired after 8 years and returned back to my home in Exton, PA. Since my return, I have been trying to get a small biotech company (focused on Brain Tumors) off the ground. 

I did not have much opportunity to enjoy outdoor activity during my professional life. However, in 2018 I joined Chester County Trail Club and currently serve on the Board of Chester County Trail club as a liaison for KTA. Now I am hooked on hiking and backpacking and trail maintenance. Besides hiking on local trails in the south-eastern Pennsylvania, managed to do about 400 miles of AT, 36 miles of End-to-End Brandywine trail, 26 miles of Blue Marsh Trail, Allegheny Front Trail and Bucktail Path, Loyalsock Trail, Old Logger’s Path and trails in Allegheny National Forest. I have assisted in maintaining and fixing Brandywine Trail, Horse Shoe Trail, Mid-County Trail, Struble Trail and Marsh Creek State Park trails  

I have been living in Exton, PA for the last 36 years. I am lucky to have a wonderful personal life with my wife Pat and two daughters (grown up now) Priti and Pooja. I am proud to say that my older daughter Priti had been a test pilot for the US Navy for twelve years and currently flies for National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and my younger daughter is a dedicated Occupational Therapist helping senior citizens and special-need children in overcoming complexities in their lives."

Comment Now on the Proposed Duke Low Altitude Military Operations Area (MOA)

As forewarned in the February newsletter, the Maryland Air National Guard (MD ANG) has released the draft final documents for the Duke MOA and announced a public comment period that ends May 17th

The MD ANG is seeking to expand its use of Pennsylvania’s airspace over six counties in northern Pennsylvania, known as the PA Wilds. The establishment of a new Low Military Operations Airspace (low MOA) over the area will permit various military units to fly A-10 Warthogs, F-16s and possibly other military aircraft as low as 100 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) and as often as every other day.

In December 2021, KTA authored a comment letter, signed by numerous members and member clubs, on this proposal and submitted it to the MD ANG. Our concerns were mirrored by scores of organization s and elected officials from the PA Wilds region. In addition to inquiring about specific environmental and experiential threats, much of the correspondence requested a full environmental impact statement and rigorous public involvement process. Our wishes were not accommodated.  

KTA plans to submit further comments before the May 17 deadline and we ask you to do the same. We believe that routine training flights as described threaten to despoil a truly wild and bucolic respite, an iconic region home to several beloved hiking trails.

Details of the proposal and links to several documents, including the Draft Final Environmental Assessment and Draft Final FONSI, can be found at Duke MOA Low ( Written comments should be sent to the following email address: 

KTA Grants-to-Clubs Round 1 Awardees

& Round 2 Opening Date

KTA’s Grants-to-Clubs program offers funding to KTA member organizations for projects beneficial to trails, the vitality of their organization, and the practice of hiking (e.g., giving people a positive trail experience).

Our first round of 2023 grants are being awarded to support the exciting projects of Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club (CVATC), Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy, Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club (BMECC), and Hope Station.

  • Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club: Purchasing tools, McLeods, and Rogue Hoes for trail maintenance. The club had the opportunity to use these tools during a field training session with AT leadership. They will use the equipment to help with repairing bridges and boardwalks and improve efficiency with raking and grading.

  • Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy: Hosting an event to recognize and extend gratitude for the wide variety of individuals required for the trail to be protected in perpetuity. This celebration honors volunteers, members, board, and the landowners who happily welcome the trail on their property. Ensuring good communication and good relations among these populations is crucial for the trail’s continued existence. 

  • Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club: Participating in bilingual hikes as part of the Berks Trail Challenge, an initiative by Tower Health System to get people out to different trails around Berks County with a reward for visiting them all. New club flyers will be created in Spanish to share at events so that BMECC can engage with a broader community.

  • Hope Station: This after school program in Cumberland County is excited to partner with KTA to introduce children to hiking. Their grant will be used to purchase backpacks, first aid kids, hiking poles, and water bottles for children to use during hikes guided by KTA.

As you can see, these grants can be used in infinite ways including new programming, initiatives, equipment, or events! We’re excited to announce that the second round for our Grants-to-Clubs program will be opening July 2nd, 2023. We invite our member organizations to apply!


Club News

Alpine Club Adopts Old Loggers Path

by Jenn Ulmer, ACW President

For about 15 years, since the portion of state forest that includes the Old Loggers Path (OLP) was shifted from Tiadaghton to Loyalsock State Forest, the OLP has suffered from a lack of consistent maintenance. There is just not enough forestry staff to go around. When possible and warranted, KTA crews and other volunteers would tackle rough spots and clear downed trees. In the last three years, Alpine Club of Williamsport (ACW) Vice President/Treasurer/Trail Co-Chair Matthew Gutberlet has taken the OLP under his wing, and with help from some trail work buddies, has re-blazed the entire 30-mile trail and whipped it into great shape.

At the recent ACW Annual Meeting in March, Matthew proposed (with the blessing of Loyalsock State Forest) that the club adopt the Old Loggers Path. The club has a full complement of maintainers for the Loyalsock Trail, and actually has a waiting list of prospective volunteer maintainers. The club approved unanimously. Matthew subsequently posted about the news in the Loyalsock Trail Facebook group, and four sections have already been snapped up. We may add a fourth Work Hike (See Community Events section below for this year’s Work Hikes) dedicated to the OLP to the schedule next year. If you live in or frequently visit the Williamsport area and are interested in learning more about maintaining a section of the OLP, contact Matthew at Please report adverse conditions any time on the LT or OLP via the contact form on our website.


2023 Trail Care Schedule

It’s almost time for KTA Trail Care season! The first event is May 4-7 on the Mid State Trail in the smack dab center of the state. We’ll be camping at R.B. Winter State Park in Union County, west of Lewisburg. Please consider joining in the fun for a day or all three. This event debuts a new feature – a fun hike on Sunday! And Amy and Kristin will be providing meals! Check out the Mid State Trail – State College event here. Also, added to the roster in the last month is our return to the far northwest, to Oil Creek State Park in late September.

Drumroll: the renovations to the KTA Trail Care website are complete! The reconfigured home page features the 2023 schedule, some general information, a photo slideshow of all sorts of people enjoying trail work (to which I’ll be continually adding/changing pictures), and, coming soon, the map pictured here.

This map shows most of the major trails in PA as well as the 2023 Trail Care event locations. You will be able to click on an event on the map or the link in the schedule and go that particular event’s website. Each event now has its own dedicated webpage with details on camping and lodging options and amenities, trail and work details, and links for more information, and online sign-up. If you would like to volunteer and are uncomfortable or unable to sign up online, please email or call me. Lastly, a lot of miscellaneous, yet still important, information was moved to an FAQ page here.

Let me know what you think about the website! Please contact me with any questions: Jenn Ulmer, Manager of Trail Maintenance and Training, at / 570-854-8316.

Upcoming KTA Trail Care Events

#1 - May 4-7: *Hybrid* Trail Care

(work Fri/Sat, hike Sun)


Bald Eagle State Forest

Leaders: Kevin Busko / Jason Davis

Camp: R.B. Winter State Park

#2 - May 11-14: Trail Care


Tioga State Forest

Leader: Wanda Shirk

Camp: Twin Streams Campground, Morris

#3 - May 18-21: Trail Care


Buchanan State Forest

Leader: Chad North

Camp: Tenley Park, Everett

#4 - June 1-4: *Hybrid* Trail Care

(work Fri/Sat, hike Sun)


Elk State Forest

Leader: Joanne Heimer et al

Camp: Hicks Run Campground

#5 - June 8-11: Trail Care


Tioga State Forest

Leader: Pete Fleszar

Camp: Hills Creek State Park

Organized Group Tenting Area

#6 - June 22-25: Trail Care


Tiadaghton State Forest

Leader: Jenn Ulmer

Camp: Pump Station Fire Tower

#7 - July 6-9: Trail Care


Sproul State Forest

Leaders: Ted Ligenza / Jenn Ulmer

Camp: Hyner Run State Park

#8 - August 10-13:  Trail Care


Allegheny National Forest

Leader: Joe Hardisky

Camp: Tracy Ridge Campground

#9 - August 24-27: Trail Care


Delaware State Forest

Leader: Shira Blady & Brian MacNamara

Camp: Resica Falls BSA Camp

#10 - September 21-24: Trail Care


Tiadaghton State Forest

Leader: Jenn Ulmer

Camp: Little Pine State Park

#11 - Sept. 27-Oct. 1: *Hybrid* TC

(work Thurs/Fri, hike Sat)


Leader: Jenn Ulmer

Camp: Wildcat Hollow Group Tenting

#12 - October 7: Code Orange 1-day


W/ Friends of Pinchot S.P.

Leader: Steve Stroman

Camp: GPSP Group Tenting Area

#13 - October 12-15: Trail Care


Leader: Jenn Ulmer

Camp: Hickory Run SP

#14 - October 26-29: Trail Care


Pinchot State Forest

Leader: Jeff Mitchell

Camp: Manny Gordon Picnic Area

Community Trail Care Events

Alpine Club / Loyalsock Trail Work Hikes

April 2, April 23 and May 7

Dates for our open work hikes on the Loyalsock Trail will be Sundays April 2, April 23 and May 7. We are continuing to use post-pandemic procedures, which proved effective. We would like to get firm commitments from volunteers prior to each date, get commitments from leaders as well, and assign volunteers to various segments. That way volunteers can go directly to the trail and go to work without having a lot of people meet first. 

The work hikes are open to everyone (not just club members). Essentially, these are a 3-4 mile walk in the woods over 3-5 hours. If you have a chain saw (and know how to use it), bring it, otherwise loppers are good. We also need volunteers to drag brush etc. off the trail. We have loppers available for those that don't bring tools. For those that have limited time to help, we usually need drivers to shuttle volunteers. Best to have a small daypack, plus your lunch and water. Prior to each date, you will receive a follow up e-mail to confirm attendees. You will then receive one more e-mail closer to the work dates (about 7 days prior) with details such as when everyone will meet. Please email Trail Co-Chairs David Dahl ( or Matthew Gutberlet ( if you can attend or with any questions.


April Upcoming KTA Events

Blue Mountain AT Hike on KTA Reroute

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Join a group hike with SATC and KTA on the eastern portion of the recently rerouted A.T. and Winter Trail on KTA’s section, guided by Jim Foster. The trail offers spectacular views of Lehigh Gap, Palmerton & Walnutport areas on this 8 mile hike. More information about this hike can be found here.

Please rsvp to:


Harrisburg area carpool - 8 am: Grantville Holiday Inn parking lot (I-81 exit 80)

Local - 9:30 am: Lehigh Gap East parking lot (near Rt 248 & 145 intersection)

Kittatinny Rambles Hike #1

Tom Lowe/Sand Spring Trails Loop with BMECC

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Our first hike in this six-hike series* conquers an easy 4.6-mile loop near Shartlesville, Berks County. On the trek, meet members of the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club (BMECC) and learn about their work maintaining portions of the Appalachian and other trails. Participants can join the group at the trailhead or board a KTA shuttle van at Fort Hunter Park in Harrisburg. After the hike, we’ll enjoy lunch* and conversation at a local restaurant. 


  • Van departs Fort Hunter Park 8:45 a.m.
  • Group gathers at trailhead 10:00 a.m.
  • Hike ends 1:00 p.m.
  • Lunch at area restaurant* 1:15 p.m.
  • Van returns to Fort Hunter Park 3:15 p.m.

*Lunch costs are covered by the participant

Registration Fee:

  • With shuttle from Fort Hunter $15 per person
  • Without shuttle/Meet at Trailhead $ 5 per person

These hikes are made possible through a Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape (KRCL) mini-grant, funded by PA DCNR, and administered by Audubon Mid-Atlantic. The series is designed to showcase the sub-landscapes of the amazing Kittatinny Ridge and the organizations that care for it. 

*Stay tuned! More Kittatinny Rambles Hikes to come this summer.

Sign up for this hike!

ATV Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 12:00pm

KTA, with support from the PA Public Natural Resources Trust and the Sierra Club’s Huplits Wildlife grant program, commissioned a short documentary film about ATV/UTV effects on our public lands. The film’s February debut was postponed for technical reasons. We’re pleased to announce that the showing of the film and a subsequent panel discussion will occur at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 via a webinar hosted by the Sierra Club, KTA, Save PA Forests Coalition, and other partners.

Register for this event!

Spring Hiking Weekend

Friday, April 21 - Sunday, April 23, 2023

Last chance to register!

The annual KTA Spring Hiking Weekend features three days of hiking, camaraderie, and looking ahead to the future of KTA and trails. Each day, participants break into smaller groups and head out on guided hikes, led by local hiking club members who know the trails and keep you on the right path. You can join just for the hikes or stay with us for the whole weekend to enjoy the fellowship and evening programs.

Lodging is provided at the Penn Wells Hotel in downtown Wellsboro. The Historic Penn Wells Hotel has welcomed visitors to Wellsboro for over 150 years and provides a classic, nostalgia-filled experience, accompanied by fine dining in the Penn Wells Hotel’s restaurant, known locally as the Mary Wells Room.

Limited scholarships are available for first-time attendees. We are especially seeking to broaden the demographics and geographic origins of participants involved with this event. Contact Brook Lenker, Executive Director, at for more information.

Last chance to sign up! Registration closes Friday, April 14, 2023.

Register for this event!

Mega Hike with KTA at Wildwood Park Wetlands Festival

Saturday, April 29 at 10:00am

Join Keystone Trails Association Executive Director, Brook Lenker, to hike ~4 miles of trails at Wildwood, including the lesser traveled Fox Run and Tall Timbers Trails. Wetlands Festival is a free community event with fun and educational activities, special musical guests, and food trucks. Enjoy wildlife exhibits, walks, and a wide variety of local and regional environmental organizations. Interact with live animals and make crafts to take home! There is something for everyone at this family-friendly event.


Future Events

KTA Events

Kittatinny Rambles Hike #2: Cove Mountain Trails with Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club 

Friday, May 19

Save the date! Registration coming soon.

Allegheny Front Trail Slackpack

June 2-5

Hike the 42 mile AFT while you stay in comfort just minutes from Black Moshannon SP. KTA will provide home-cooked meals, shuttles to and from the trail each day, and the author of the AFT guidebook to lead your hikes.

Old Loggers Path Backpack

June, 2023

Save the date! Registration coming soon.

Prowl the Sproul

July 14-16

North Bend, PA

The “Sproul” contains some of the most wild and remote forestland in Pennsylvania. DCNR guides and KTA volunteer hike leaders will share their insider knowledge of the trails while they lead hikers off the beaten path to explore the hidden jewels of the Sproul State Forest.

Black Forest Trail Slackpack

July 28-31

Thruhike all 42 miles of the BFT with only a daypack. Stay in cabins and glamping pods at Pettecote Junction Campground and enjoy home-cooked meals and shuttles to and from the trail for daily guided hikes.

Allegheny National Forest Weekend

August 25-27

Stay at Olmstead Manor in Ludlow, PA for a weekend of hikes and adventure in Pennsylvania's only National Forest. Knowledgeable, local hike leaders and speakers will guide your excursions provide evening entertainment.

Trail Challenge 25k

September 9

Are you up to the Challenge? The KTA Trail Challenge returns! Take on 25K of rugged trails on the rolling hills of the lower Susquehanna Gorge. Whether you're a seasoned trail runner or a determined hiker, this event is for you. Push yourself to complete this strenuous hike with steep climbs, rocky terrain, and stunning vistas.

NEW FOR THIS YEAR: Finishers of the KTA Trail Challenge who also complete the Ironmaster's Challenge 15K or 50K will receive a collaborative Iron Mettle Medal.

Register on UltraSignup

Wilderness First Aid Training

September 23-24, 2023

Halifax, PA

Save the date! Registration coming soon.

Keystone Hike Fest 2023: Fall Hiking Weekend

October 21-23

Johnstown, PA

Save the date! Registration coming soon. Make your hotel reservation here.

Hiking the Wales Coast Path

August 15-26 or September 26 - October 7

Both Trips Filled

Hiking adventure on the renowned Wales Coast Path. Following the sweeping crescent of Cardigan Bay, this section, the Ceredigion Coast Path, has perhaps the most varied landscape and terrain of the entire 870 mile path.

Community Events

Pennsylvania Director Of Outdoor Recreation Announces Statewide Stakeholder Meetings During Visit To Scranton Outdoor Retail Shops

April 5–April 26 (locations vary)

Indigenous Peoples in Pennsylvania History -- An Intro to the Penn State University Research Guide

April 13, 1PM (online)

WeConservePA and the Pennsylvania DEIJ Community of Land Trust Professionals will host an information and learning session on the Penn State University Library’s Indigenous Peoples in Pennsylvania History research guide. Guest speakers Jane Ingold, Heidi Abbey Moyer, and Eric Novotny (members of the Penn State Libraries’ Native American Learning Group) will give a short overview of the project followed by a demonstration of its use.

Spring Trails Roundtable: Trails in Natural Areas

May 2, 2023, 10AM (online)

Hosted by WeConservePA, this roundtable discussion explores the challenges, successes, and lessons learned in planning, developing, and managing trails located within or passing through nature preserves and other lands where supporting wildlife habitat and biodiversity are major concerns. 

State-by-State AT Photo Contest

May 26–June 11

The 2023 State-by-State Photo Contest is a chance for photographers to share their awe-inspiring photos of the Trail from each of its 14 states. Throughout the year, ATC will be opening submissions for each state one at a time, beginning in Georgia and finishing in Maine. Submissions for the Pennsylvania will be open May 26 - June 11.

Hawk Mountain Summer Nature Camps

June 19 - August 11

This summer, kids can grow their connection with nature at Hawk Mountain's 2023 Summer Nature Camps. Campers can choose from eight fun and educational themes or attend for multiple weeks. The Summer Nature Camps are designed for young nature enthusiasts entering grades 1st – 6th.

A.T. Vista 2023

August 4-7, 2023

Mark your calendars. The 2023 conference will be held in Johnson City, TN. More information to come.

Want your event featured on our Community Calendar? KTA will promote your club/organization's major events through The Keystone Hiker, Facebook, and our website. It's a perk of membership! Just submit a list with date, time, location, and link to web page for only those events that the public should see, to


Featured from the KTA Store

Purple Lizard Maps

Purple Lizard Maps is dedicated to making beautiful maps of special places. Designed for those who want to make the most of their outdoor recreation, Purple Lizard's expanding line of "Lizard Maps" includes some of the best hiking destinations in Pennsylvania. The maps are waterproof, durable, and easily fit in your back pocket or backpack. Folded size 4" x 8". Lizard Maps offer hikers all the info they need for short or long distance adventures, including elevation, camping info, and contour lines!

Shop Our Store!


Trail News

E-bikes raise management concerns in some parks, public forests

Decoding the Appalachian Trail: Volume 1

Forestry for the Birds Forest Bird Pocket Guide 18 Priority Species for Pennsylvania Foresters & Landowners

Emporium and Warren will host remote workers in 2023 Wilds Are Working initiative

It’s Baby Season! What to Do When You Find a Baby Animal

Wetlands in Spring

Find Northern Saw-whet Owls With These Five Tips


Club Spotlight

Friends of the Wissahickon

The Friends of the Wissahickon, official park partner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, conserves and improves the 1800-acre Wissahickon Valley Park. Staff and volunteers work with expert contractors and environmental scientists to mitigate stormwater runoff into the watershed, reduce erosion, and address the impacts on the native habitat posed by climate change. Volunteer hours and membership dollars support our work to sustain this special urban oasis, a place in nature for all who seek it. The mission of the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) is to conserve the natural beauty and wildness of the Wissahickon Valley Park and stimulate public interest therein.


This newsletter is published monthly by Keystone Trails Association. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Opinions expressed are those of the listed authors. The Editor encourages submissions reflecting all viewpoints, but reserves the right to edit material. You are encouraged to submit material (even just a trail closing or care alert!) to the Manager of Communications & Membership, Holly Tritt, at The deadline for newsletter submissions is the 15th of the prior month. Submissions received after that time will be considered for the next month.

Please reference our Editorial-Style Guide while you compose your piece.

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