Leader: Steven Grund (Botanist, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy/ PNHP)
Depart: 7:00 a.m.
Return: 6:00 p.m.
Difficulty: Intermediate. Biking on level bike path but with some hiking uphill on terrain without paths.
Destination: Ohiopyle State Park
Conference themes: Freshwater Ecosystems
Most of the Youghiogheny River Gorge is protected within the 7,700 hectare (19,000 acre) Ohiopyle State Park. The Youghiogheny River is famous for whitewater. Where there is whitewater, there is scour. This is a high-energy river with significant winter ice movement, producing harsh conditions where plant survival requires unusual adaptations. Unusual habitats harbor unusual species, and some plants on the Yough scour are globally rare. Many more are southern Appalachian endemics at the northern edge of their ranges.
We will use bicycles to visit two of the best scour habitats in the Youghiogheny River Gorge, with a few other stops to see interesting species. Topics to be covered will include scour processes, adaptation of plants to scour conditions, globally and regionally at-risk scour specialist species, protection history of the Youghiogheny Gorge, threats to and management of scour systems.
The bicycling will be on relatively level bicycle trails, but one or two of the stops will require climbing down and up a steep wooded slope with no trail. Participants should be able to make that climb and wear suitable footwear.
Transportation: Bus from Conference Venue
Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.