Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet

Issues of Concern in Moshannon Country

Moshannon Group is looking for members who are interested in taking leading roles in any of these listed issues, or any other regional issues of interest to our members. This can include everything from simply gathering information to attending meetings and writing public comments detailing the Sierra Club position on the issues — all depending on your interest and the amount of time you are able to give.

In addition to the volunteers listed in the entries below, contact Ron Johnson at 814-359-6841 or greenbowl1@hotmail.com for more information on getting involved in these or other important conservation issues in Moshannon country.

Bellwood (Blair Co.) Hydroelectric Project

Location of any development project is key to avoiding negative environmental impacts. Should high-quality wildlife habitat, trout streams, and public lands be sacrificed for corporate profits in the name of ‘green’ energy? The Moshannon Group believes the answer in this case is a resounding “No!”

  1. This project would inundate a mile of High Quality trout stream in Mulligan Hollow, directly affecting Tipton Run, a Class A High Quality trout stream.
  2. This project would inundate 200+ acres of forest in a designated Blair County Natural Heritage Area (designated in the Blair County Natural Heritage Inventory)
  3. This project would take 200+ acres of State Game Lands 158, land that was set aside for wildlife conservation and public recreation.
  4. This project would result in no NET generation of energy. It appears that water will be pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity at 16 non-peak hours and then the water would flow back down through the turbines, generating electricity during 8 peak hours. Thus, the only thing that would be generated is money for the owners, who would use cheaper non-peak electricity to pump water up and then generate more expensive peak electricity when the water flows back down through the turbines.

Supporting Documentation:

Marcellus Shale Drilling impacts

Impacts of Marcellus shale drilling at Tioga State Forest, November 2009 — Click for larger view with annotations · Photo by Dick Martin/PA Forest Coalition

Marcellus Shale Drilling

The recent boom of Marcellus Shale drilling permits and lack of adequate regulations to protect our natural resources raises grave concerns about the effects that this development will have on Pennsylvania’s natural resources. This article by Trout Unlimited provides a good overview of what Pennsylvania needs to do to protect its precious fisheries.

Act Now: Seven Steps to Make Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Safer

Deep Shale Drilling 101

Have some time to study?

Articles and Information about Marcellus Shale Drilling:

Stay tuned for further information as it becomes available. Additional informative links can be found on our Marcellus Drilling Page.

Suggestions for information to include here may be sent to our Webmaster who will forward them to the Marcellus Shale Issues Committee.

Dry brook inthe proposed Chestneut Ridge Wilderness Area

Dry Brook in the proposed ANF Chestnut Ridge Wilderness Area · Photo by Kirk Johnson/Friends of Allegheny Wilderness

Backpacking in the Allegheny National Forest

Backpacking in the Allegheny National Forest, McKean County · Photo by Bill Mertens

Allegheny National Forest: Qualifying Wilderness in Peril

The U.S. Forest Service is revising its management plan for the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwestern Pennsylvania, which is the only National Forest in the state. The ANF features vast roadless areas and many pristine ecosystems, which are under growing pressure from resource extraction interests, who are taking advantage of the Bush’s administration’s policies toward public lands. This includes Marcellus shale gas drilling (more on Marcellus shale gas drilling).

Citizens’ groups have advocated Federal Wilderness protection for eight pristine areas in the ANF, but the U.S. Forest Service has refused to even consider some of those areas, and there is no guarantee of protection for the others.

As of mid-2006, ANF managers have proposed several alternative versions of a required Federal forest management plan, and public comments are being solicited. For more information, visit Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, which is coordinating the efforts of several citizens’ groups.

Send Letters to Support Federal Wilderness Designation

Detailed instructions about sending a letter (including a template to get you started) can be found at the Friends of Allegheny Wilderness home page under “Write Your Members of Congress” (on the right), including finding your Senators’ and Representative’s contact information.

Edit the template letter as you see fit or write your own, add details of why Wilderness is important to you, and send it to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators Casey and Specter.

If you live in Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional district, your letter will be critical — Rep. Glenn Thompson represents the vast majority of the ANF and will be a very important decision-maker in this issue.

Supporting Documentation

The Lake Erie Group, which borders the Moshannon Group to the northwest, often holds outings and events in Allegheny National Forest. Members and Friends of Moshannon Group are welcome to participate.

Moshannon Group also hosts occasional outings in this area, with a focus on the issues faced by Allegheny National Forest. Watch this page for details.

Ridgetop windplants fragment the forest

Impacts of industrial wind development on ridgetops (Mars Hill, Maine)

Ridgetop windplants impacts

Meyersdale Industrial Wind Site: Forest fragmentation — Click for larger view · Annotated photo by Dan Boone

Cumulative imapcts of wind turbines

Cumulative impacts of 75 wind turbines to interior forest: 2,300 acres lost (nearly 4 square miles), January 2009 — Click for larger view · Annotated aerial photo provided by Dan Boone

Wind Power Development

Politicians and energy companies are beginning to promote the idea of wind power facilities in many different locations on Pennsylvania’s ridgetops. Wind turbines of the type already operating in Somerset County have been proposed for most of the counties in southcentral PA. Such proposals are taking on the aspects of a fad, before the full effects of such facilities are truly known by citizens and their representatives.

Sierra Club favors alternative energy development and is not opposed to the concept of wind power. However, Moshannon Group believes that wind power facilities, or the type being proposed, are not appropriate for our area of the state due to numerous issues with wildlife mortality, forest destruction, and wilderness fragmentation.

Additional supporting information:

For more information, contact Stan Kotala at 814-946-8840 or ccwiba@keyconn.net, or visit the citizens’ coalition Save Our Allegheny Ridges (SOAR).

before wind turbines

Ridgetop before wind turbines along State Game Lands 198, 2005 — Larger view before turbines · Annotated aerial photo provided by Dan Boone

after wind turbines

Same ridgetop showing impacts of wind turbine development, 2008 — Larger view after turbines · Annotated aerial photo provided by Dan Boone

Centre County Landfill

The Black Moshannon Creek, a high-quality cold water fishery with a native wild trout population, will be impacted by the proposed Resource Recovery Landfill · Photo courtesy of People Protecting Communities.

The Peale Tunnel on the Snow Shoe Rail Trail

The Peale Tunnel, built in 1884 for the Beech Creek Railroad, along the scenic Snow Shoe Rail-Trail. This public trail will be lost if the proposed rail reactivation for the Resource Recovery Landfill occurs · Photo by Angel Ramsey

Centre County Landfill — Success!

A private company is proposing an extensive new landfill in forested areas near the villages of Snow Shoe and Moshannon in northwestern Centre County. As initially proposed, it will be the “largest landfill east of the Mississippi,” and will be predominantly used for garbage from New York and New Jersey. The site may also include a new interchange off I–80 and an adjacent industrial park.

Environmental impacts include stresses on Black Moshannon and Moshannon Creeks, odors and air pollution (from the landfill itself, a proposed incinerator, and incoming traffic), significant increases in truck and rail traffic in the region, and other visual and noise pollution issues.

SUCCESS!Great News!

Landfill developer, Resource Recovery, LLC (RRLLC), has withdrawn the landfill permit application! After almost nine years, we have stopped “the largest landfill east of the Mississippi!”

Thank you all so much for your support throughout the years – from the initial sign campaign that lined the roads of our Mountaintop communities in preparation for the Snow Shoe Township June 2004 meeting, to the “Stop the Centre County Dump” sign campaign that put hundreds of signs in yards, windows, and along the roadways throughout Centre and Clearfield Counties, to the great Peale Walk that raised awareness about the area we were trying to protect, to the “Flying Pig Postcard Campaign” that compared the truth to the fiction of RRLLC’s benefit claims, to the many letters you wrote, the petitions you signed, the meetings you attended, the numerous fund raisers you supported, the generous donations you sent year after year, and the words of encouragement that kept our spirits up during some of the most difficult periods.

You folks are great! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Sincerely, People Protecting Communities

Spring Creek Canyon

Limestone cliffs of the Spring Creek Canyon · Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Canyon Alliance

Spring Creek Canyon

Bloodroot along Spring Creek Canyon, Spring 2008 · Photo by Gary Thornbloom

Forested Bend in Spring Creek

Forested stream buffer along Spring Creek · Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Canyon Alliance

Spring Creek Canyon — Success!

Spring Creek Canyon Opens to the Public

The preservation of Spring Creek Canyon has been one of Moshannon Group’s principal conservation efforts as part of the Spring Creek Canyon Alliance. On September 30, 2011, this area opened to the public as State Game Lands 333.

Spring Creek Canyon Cooperative Management Area

The Spring Creek Canyon Cooperative Management Area is a land partnership among Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, The Pennsylvania State University, Benner Township, and Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. The main trail runs a total distance of 4.4 miles from the Benner Spring State Fish Hatchery (south) to the Bellefonte State Fish Hatchery (north) and borders historic Spring Creek.

In addition to hiking trails, this area also provides many recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting and biking. For more information, visit www.springcreekcanyon.com

Please enjoy and support the conservation and restoration of this area.

Spring Creek Canyon

Save Our Canyon rally · Photo by Gary Thornbloom

Spring Creek Canyon, between Bellefonte and State College in Centre County, is better protected from development and suburban sprawl due to the majority of the acreage being transferred by legislative action on July 13, 2010, to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The original proposal was to transfer the land to Penn State University. The final legislative action transfers about 1,200 acres to the Pennsylvanaia Game Commission, 452 acres to Penn State University with deed restrictions, 141 acres along Spring Creek to the PA Fish & Boat Commission, and 25 acres to Benner Township.

SUCCESS!Congratulations and thanks to everyone who helped preserve and transfer the majority of the Spring Creek Canyon Lands to the Pennsylvania Game Commission!

Great work everyone!

Spring Creek Canyon is one of the best-preserved limestone canyons left in Pennsylvania, with a unique and valuable ecosystem containing rare plants and animals.


Catherine Twp quarry area thumbnail
Catherine Twp quarry map thumbnail

Catharine Township (Blair Co.) Quarry — SUCCESS!


Congratulations to everyone who worked on this issue! Read the 2/20/2012 Press Release from JVAS for more details about the resolution of this issue between Catherine Properties, Juniata Valley Audubon Society, and Centre for Biological Diversity.

A proposed limestone quarry adjacent to the Lower Trail in the Covedale area of Catharine Township, Blair County will have a severe adverse impact on the Lower Trail and its users, local residents, the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River Important Bird Area (IBA), and the Heller Caves Biological Diversity Area (BDA).

Catharine Properties, which owns approximately 200 acres fronting the trail for one mile, is proposing to develop limestone quarry next to the trail, with its attendant blasting, bulldozing, heavy truck traffic, dust, noise, etc. The BDA and a portion of the IBA are part of the proposed mine.

Supporting Documentation: