This site includes Thickhead Wild Area and Alan Seeger Natural Area in the heart of Rothrock State Forest, southeast of State College, as well as the Stone Mountain ridgeline. Thickhead Wild Area is a mountainous region of unfragmented, deciduous and mixed forest. It contains three natural areas: Detweiler Run Natural Area, an isolated forest/stream site characterized by virgin White Pine and Eastern Hemlock along with a heavy undergrowth of rhododendron; Bear Meadows Natural Area, an unusual boreal coniferous/shrub swamp; and Big Flat Laurel Viewing Area, an area of high plateau pine, heath, and Mountain Laurel. The 390-acre Alan Seeger Natural Area consists of virgin oak-hickory, maple, and hemlock-pine forest with rhododendron understory.

Directions: Access by various state forest roads between Rts. 322, 26, and 305.

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Ornithological Summary

The Thickhead Wild Area contains some of the best remaining stands of old-growth in central Pennsylvania and large sections of unfragmented forest important for forest-interior species. Stone Mountian ridgeline is one in the system of ridges funneling southbound migrant raptors. Documented numbers average 2,000-4,000 in fall migration; however, the area is not monitored daily, so numbers are likely higher.

Conservation Issues

Development pressure from State College for commercial, residential and recreational use is a threat. Recreational overuse is a growing problem with the use of ATVs. A large deer population contributes to forest understory degradation. Access is limited or difficult in much of the area. Detweiler Run Natural Area, Bear Meadows Natural Area, and Big Flat Laurel Natural Area could be expanded into surrounding Rothrock State Forest land to provide more quality habitat for interior forest-nesting species and Neotropical migrants. land acquisitions surrounding these areas also would greatly increase the value to interior forest-nesting species and Neotropical migrants in these high-quality sites.

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