The Allegheny National Forest reopened the Brush Hollow Trail System on the Marienville Ranger District today following the completion of timber salvage operations. The closure was prompted by the wind event of 2017 which felled acres of large trees.
Implemented timber salvage operations enabled the Forest Service to recover the commercial value of those trees and clear the trail. Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon said “Additional maintenance activities are planned for the trail system this summer. Trail surface work, brushing, mowing, log removal, and drainage improvements enhancing the sustainability of the trail are planned.”
In the past, visitors hiked through areas of hemlock, spruce, and pine overhanging the trail. However, the scenic value those trees provided in the past has been lost. For now, and well into the future, visitors will encounter a much different landscape, particularly on the Elli loop which was heavily impacted in the 2017 weather event.
Forest visitors will now experience a landscape that will testify to the random power of nature and its
restorative capacity. “We will plant trees within the trail system to promote species diversity inside the new growth forest,” Fallon said, adding, “We will also be monitoring for and addressing non-native invasive plants that may compete with native vegetation within the new growth area.”
The Brush Hollow Trail System includes the Elli, Brushy Gap, and Challenger trail loops and the point-to-point Mill Creek Trail. The system offers more than 13 miles of trail for recreational activities like cross country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife observation and photography. The trail is currently open for cross-country skiing; however, it is not groomed.
The Brush Hollow Trail System is open daily and requires no fees or permits. Forest visitors are requested to practice outdoor ethics such as Leave No Trace principles and Tread Lightly. Bathrooms are currently closed.