North by Northwest: Heart of the Forest


To explore Penn’s Woods in the 21st century is to enter a landscape shaped by humanity, its peaceful sylvan settings an artifact of human making on a massive scale. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Allegheny National Forest, stretched over Warren, McKean, Elk, and Forest counties. This massive second-growth forest full of oak and cherry would not have been possible without the removal of its predecessor eastern white pines during the 19th-century logging boom. Tucked away in secluded spots, however, a wanderer can still find those primeval trees. Hearts Content, a protected natural scenic area within the Allegheny National Forest, is one example, a living testament to the tension that exists between the landscape and the people living in it.

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