Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

May 23, 2013

Allegheny National Forest is a wooded wonderland

Night & Day — When I first got an email announcing the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Bradford, Pa., I thought it would be a good way to spend Earth Day 2013.

Even before the series of 28 short films that address the environmental concerns and celebrations of the planet began, John Stoneman with the Tuna Valley Trail Association took a group of nature lovers on a hike through the forest.

Arriving too late to join in, I met up with George Sanflippo the following morning for a personal mile-long walking tour through the forest along the Marilla Bridges Trail that loops around scenic Marilla Reservoir. Along the way, we encountered huge trees, scenic vistas and wooden bridges.

The previous day’s viewing of the Earth Day films gave me a greater appreciation of the natural world and the wonders of the Allegheny National Forest, approximately 517,000 acres of wooded rolling hills that hold much of the state’s original tracts of virgin hardwood trees.

Shown in the modern Bromeley Theater on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the films touched on a wide variety of ecological subjects and worldwide geographic locales. The range of settings included Yosemite, Oregon, oyster farms in Washington, Japan, Wyoming, New Mexico, Mt. Kenya and a remote area of British Columbia.

Breaks throughout the day sparked individual discussions, a chance to listen to live music by regional musicians and check out the information kiosks that focused on environmental concerns.

New Horizon Creamery, for instance, not only passed out samples of its home made cheese, but also promoted its country cabins that overlooked the farm pond in nearby Coudersport. Ken and Peggy Butler of the Black Caddis Ranch in Kellettville announced their first firefly festival, which showcases treks into the surrounding forest to witness only the second documented instance of a synchronized firefly display along with exhibitors, live music and games and activities for children.

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