PPL’s Shuman Point Harvest Completed to Strengthen Forest

Current map of Shuman Point to be revised after the 2012 tree harvest

Current map of Shuman Point to be revised after the 2012 tree harvest

If you’ve ever been to Lake Wallenpaupack, you may have hiked the trails or anchored off PPL’s Shuman Point Natural Area. This 300-acre area of woodland is one of the last undeveloped areas around the lake. Over 120 years ago, all of the trees were harvested from this site. Before the lake was formed in 1926, parts of Shuman Point were farmed. PPL preserved Shuman Point as a natural area, allowing the forest to grow.

For several years beginning in the early 2000’s, tree mortality at Shuman Point became evident due to gypsy moth defoliations, drought and other environmental stresses. Safety concerns were addressed as annual evaluations reflected continual loss of vigor in the top canopy. Due to tree mortality and a reduced deer herd after the winter of 2003, regeneration developed on the forest floor. Because oak trees thrive in full sunlight, PPL took this opportunity to regenerate a section of this forest with a tree species that grows well, is preferred by wildlife and is aesthetically pleasing to visitors.

A carpet of oak seedlings struggling to grow before the harvest was completed, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor.

A carpet of oak seedlings struggling to grow before the harvest was completed, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor.

PPL’s consulting forester, Paul Kowalczyk, took an inventory of all seedlings and mature trees in three stands. Stands are areas in a forest that share common things like tree species, size, forest health, public use, etc. Each stand then received its own “prescription”. In December 2010, the forester marked boundary trees with blue stripes and reserved trees with yellow dots. Blue rectangles painted on trees along the trail are Shuman Point’s trail markers.

In October 2012, the trail was closed to the public and work began. The largest stand, 13-acres between the lake and the trail, is called a riparian forest, which is managed with water quality issues valued above all else. In this area, 50% of the large red oak population had died or was left to decline. Dead or dying trees were removed to make hiking and lake shore exploration safer for the public. Similarly, in a two-acre stand near Rt. 590, only a few trees along the trail needed to be treated. In the last stand, a 10-acre section located south and west of the hiking trail, the area suffered greatly from tree mortality and had great regeneration of mixed oak seedlings. However, the residual overstory trees shaded the young seedlings enough to force them to have stunted, crooked stems. The prescription for this area was to remove all the dead or dying tees, reserving den trees and seed trees of diverse species.

Completed stand on Shuman Point where den and seed trees were reserved

Completed stand on Shuman Point where den and seed trees were reserved

By December 2012, work was completed and the trail reopened. Biodiversity will flourish as this has created an opportunity for new species to inhabit the stands. We expect Pennsylvania’s state bird, the ruffed grouse to enjoy drumming on logs that were left behind. Warblers, hawks, weasels and minks may also move into the stands in the years to come. Forester Paul Kowalczyk will continue to monitor the health of PPL’s Shuman Point Natural Area.

We’d love to hear from you and see any pictures you take on your hikes around the lake. Follow us on facebook, twitter and wordpress, or email pplpreserves@pplweb.com.

Happy hiking!!

-Jenna Wayne, Education and Public Outreach

View from Wally Dam Enjoyed by Public

Jenna Wayne, PPL Wallenpaupack, leading a tour of the dam

Attendance and sales records were broken around the lake this past weekend for the 3rd annual Wally Lake Fest. More than 2,500 visitors were reported at the LakeRegionVisitorsCenter (News Eagle).  64 motorcycles joined in the first Ride for the Lake to support the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District (News Eagle). And 1,225 pairs of feet walked across the PPL Wallenpaupack Dam.

PPL employess from left to right: Katie Lester, Meg Welker, Janice Kimble, Heather Hopkins, Sarah Hall, Alana Roberts and Joshua Miller

PPL’s Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center (WELC) was open to the public all weekend. Staff was busy preparing display tables, stocking brochure racks and counting out hard hats on Friday, as the Wayne County Arts Alliance (WCAA) set up for their “Crate Expectations” art auction.

Saturday morning was greeted by more than 30 people on the first tour of the dam at 10 a.m. More hard hats were needed as group sizes grew to 50, then 60 and even 70! Power plant tours were also given by way of bus with PPL tour guides. By the end of the day, 700 people had taken a tour of the dam and power plant. Tours were also conducted on Sunday to nearly 525 people.

Katie Lester, PPL Wallenpaupack, guiding a group to the power plant.

WCAA’s art auction saw a full auditorium of bidders. “Crate Expectations” pieces ranged from umbrella holders and jewelry boxes, to the PPL’s WELC sponsored antique suitcase-top table. Despite the threat of more evening rain, a group of adults and children enjoyed the Stargazing by the Lake program. Presenters Darryl and Jackie Speicher of the PoconoAvianResearchCenter entertained us with folk tales about how the stars came to be, while a laser pointer found the stars between wispy cirrus clouds. PPL’s public program was complete with campfire and smores.

Leaving footprints on the dam, in hearts

Thank you to all the visitors, organizers and public officials who took part in the 3rd annual Wally Lake Fest. I had a fantastic time leading tours, squashing rumors and meeting our visitors. Next year can’t come soon enough!

-Jenna Wayne, PPL Wallenpaupack

Other articles about Wally Lake Fest:

Times Tribune

News Eagle

Celebrating the preserve

NOTE: This is an excerpt from the Standard Journal newspaper in Milton. For the full story, please click on the link at the end of this post.

Newspaper Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series marking the 40th anniversary of PPL’s Montour Preserve.

by Kevin Mertz
Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012 3:03 AM CDT

WASHINGTONVILLE — A 966-acre preserve which attracts thousands of visitors each year and is home to numerous bird species, reptiles, deer, turkey and more, is marking a milestone this year.

This year marks the 40th year that PPL’s Montour Preserve has been open to the public.

Jon Beam, a senior naturalist who has worked at the preserve for 21 years, said the preserve was developed to provide a backup source of cooling water for PPL’s Montour Power Plant.

Beam said the reservoir, which is now Lake Chillisquaque, was developed to provide that backup source when the plant is not able to draw cooling water from the Susquehanna River.

“PPL could have put a fence around the lake and no trespassing signs,” Beam said. “Someone decided to open the lake and the environmental education center.”

Beam said Montour Preserve is one of six preserves which PPL operates in support of its power plants.

“From PPL’s perspective, this is a great way for them to give something back to local communities,” Beam said. “Even though they are a power company, they have a very strong environmental ethic.”


Sappy Days

Those buckets hanging on trees can mean only one thing:

Sap buckets adorn maple trees at Montour Preserve

 it’s maple sugaring time. Join us at PPL’s Montour Preserve on Sunday, March 4 as we take you from sunshine to syrup at our second and final maple sugaring open house of the season. Programs begin indoors at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

Outdoor demonstrations continue until 4 p.m. This is a fun program for the entire family, so join us for some sappy days.

Slide Down to Wallenpaupack

We’ve gone electric! The library at the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center has new activities and crafts for the winter months. Our focus is on electricity and how it is generated. Children will get the answers to “what is energy” and “what is a renewable resource”. Adults might learn something, too! Did you know PPL uses new technology to remotely read your electric meter?

There’s a variety of things to do in our library from now till April. Dig for coal or learn how to read your PPL electric meter. Build a miniature wind turbine and become an Energy Star Saver! Our Smart House is ready for energy-saving exploration with a new walk-through module. There are also new books about renewable and nonrenewable resources. Thomas Edison was even given a special tribute this season. Did you know he would be 165 years old this February?

We never forget about our diverse educators, either. From classroom teachers, to home-school groups and scout troops, the center has something to offer for everyone. The Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center is proud to announce a sign out program for lesson plans, curriculum and activity guides. Books and materials on the shelves are marked with stickers if we have duplicates. See anyone in the Education and Public Outreach office to borrow them for your class or small group. 

Our winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are also open on select Saturdays when a public program is offered. You can check the calendar of events at www.pplpreserves.com or drop us an e-mail at pplpreserves@pplweb.com to join our email list for upcoming programs. Follow us on Twitter @PPLpreserves for closings. What better place to bring the kids when school is closed and the center is open?

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