Lisa Smith (Executive Director, Natural Areas Association)
Ephraim Zimmerman (Natural Heritage Program Science Director, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)
Depart: 7:15 a.m.
Return: 6:00 p.m.
Difficulty: Intermediate. Several miles of biking on a bike path and rafting on the Youghiogheny River.
Destination: Ohiopyle State Park
Conference themes: Special Species/Natural Communities
Explore this exceptional landscape by foot, bike and raft! A nature lover's paradise, the Youghiogheny (Yaw-ki-GAY-nee) Gorge is a valley formed by the "Yough River" as it cuts through Laurel Ridge. It is the deepest water gap in Pennsylvania. The forested gorge boasts unparalleled natural beauty, unique plant assemblages and natural communities, interesting geology and a rich cultural history. Ferncliff Peninsula is a 100-acre National Natural Landmark which serves as the nucleus of the gorge and the surrounding 19,000-acre Ohiopyle State Park. In addition to providing river scour habitat for the globally rare Marshallia (Marshallia grandiflora), the Yough River runs around the peninsula to form seven Class-3 rapids in addition to the Ohiopyle Falls and is infamously known in the whitewater river community as the "Loop." Join the Natural Areas Association, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and other partners to learn about planning and protection efforts to protect this critically important landscape.
Transportation: Bus from Conference Venue, Bike and Raft Onsite
Invest in the people who protect and manage our natural areas