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

Partial Closure of Pequea Boat Launch

lake-walle_fishing-silhouette1The Pequea boat launch will be closed Monday through Friday starting the week of Jan. 14 for an expansion and enhancement project. The boat launch will be open to boaters on Saturdays and Sundays only.

This phase of the expansion and enhancement project will run from Jan. 14 through May 15. Improvements will include expanding the facility with an additional boat launch, which will extend 100 feet out into the Susquehanna River; creation of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant fishing platform located directly on the river; installation of a parking area for 16 trailers and five cars, including two ADA-compliant spaces; and installation of a parking area adjacent to the existing facility, which will add 12 additional trailer parking spaces.

Parking improvements will bring the total trailer parking spaces to 64 and regular parking spaces to 26.

Previous enhancements to the Pequea boat launch included new abutments for the courtesy dock; installation of an additional concrete boat ramp in the Pequea Creek; complete replacement and extension of the existing concrete boat ramp; addition of two new boat docks; and complete dredging of the Pequea Creek.

“The improvements and enhancements at Pequea are part of PPL’s commitment to provide and improve public recreation at this popular area for boating on the Susquehanna River,” said John M. Levitski, PPL’s regional community relations director for the Lancaster area.

For further information: John M. Levitski, 717-560-2533

Shuman Point reopens

We are happy to report that all timber harvesting has been completed at Shuman Point Natural Area! Get outside and enjoy a nice hike over the holidays! Shuman Sign

Don’t forget safety this holiday season

PPL reminds everyone to guard against electrical hazards this holiday season.DSCN1132[1]

Taking electrical safety shortcuts could get your holiday season remembered for all the wrong reasons.

“We want our customers and all those celebrating with family and friends at this time of the year to play it safe and make sure good safety sense isn’t dulled by the holiday rush,” said Barry Downes, manager of Health and Safety for the utility. “It’s a busy time of year, but we can’t forget to do important things such as checking electric cords for damage, not overloading outlets, and more.”

Statistics show home fires and electric accidents increase during the winter holidays. At this time of the year, pay extra attention, whether you’re hanging holiday decorations, cooking, or warding off the winter chill. Some tips include:

Decorating

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 150 home fires are caused each year by decorative and holiday lights. To reduce the likelihood of fire:

  • Use lights approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together. Consider purchasing LED lights, which are more energy efficient and burn cooler.
  • Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located.  Plan your displays accordingly.
  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices.  They can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Child safety

Children are at high risk for fire deaths and home injuries, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says seven children are seen in emergency rooms each day in the U.S. for electrical shock and burn injuries caused by tampering with a wall outlet.  To help protect children:

  • Cover any unused outlets on extension cords with plastic caps to prevent children from coming in contact with the live circuit.
  • Place electrical cords out of the reach of small children.
  • Never allow children to play with lights, electrical decorations, or cords.
  • Use battery-operated candles to avoid the hazards associated with open flames.

Heating equipment

Keeping family and holiday guests warm should always be done with safety in mind. Whether it’s your home heating system or supplemental heat, the following tips from ESFI offer help:

  • Have your heating system inspected annually by a licensed, qualified professional.
  • Use space heaters properly and safely.  Keep them out of high-traffic areas and at least three feet from anything that can burn.
  • Do not leave a space heater running unattended.  Turn space heaters off and unplug them when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave an open flame, including the fireplace, unattended.

“Beyond these seasonal tips, PPL Electric Utilities’ safety page, www.pplelectric.com/safety, is filled with information to help keep you safe no matter the time of year,” Downes said. “We’re committed to public and employee safety. We believe electrical safety is important everywhere, every time, at home, work or play.”

Hunting Restrictions at Holtwood

PPL to Continue Hunting Restrictions at Holtwood Preserve

Hunting restrictions around the Holtwood hydroelectric plant will continue, due to ongoing construction work.

The restriction will be in place for the duration of the 2012-13 hunting season.

“For public safety reasons, we have decided to restrict hunting around our Holtwood facility,” said John M. Levitski, PPL’s regional community relations director for the Lancaster area. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our neighbors and visitors. We would also like to thank the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the hunters in our community for their support and understanding.”

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