Important Bird Areas

South Mountain - Caledonia State Park & Michaux State Forest

Pennsylvania

This site is the northernmost extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The cover is a mixed forest area with Hemlock, White Pine, Red and White oak, maple, and laurel predominating. The site geology is quartzite and sandstone bedrock. A dense understory of rhododendron occurs in stream valleys. Michaux State Forest contains 3 state parks: Caledonia, Pine Grove Furnace and Mount Alto, with King's Gap Environmental Education Center in the northernmost edge.

Directions: From Chambersburg, follow Rt. 30 E approx. 10 miles to intersection with Rt. 233. This is Caledonia State Park. Continuing on several miles are turns for Long Pine Reservoir, Laurel Lake and Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

{link:For fact sheet, click here|http://pa.audubon.org/Sites/Site40.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

This area is the northernmost section of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pennsylvania and contains interior forest species. During migration and summers, the mixed forests attact Wood Thrush, Veery, and Ovenbirds. Laurel Lake and two large reservoirs attract waterfowl and wading birds including Wood Duck, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Common Merganser, Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, and Green Heron. Whip-poor-wills are present. Many foot trails exist within the state forest area. Several rock outcroppings provide views of raptors during the fall migration season.

Conservation Issues

Threats and pressure on this area include increased recreational overuse from all-terrain vehicles. ATV/Off Road Vehicle use has been reviewed in a joint effort by the Bureau of Forestry and the Game Commission, and some roads have been closed to reduce impacts on wildlife.

Passive recreational use includes cross-country skiing and hiking, which have little impact on forest habitat health. Greater involvement from passive recreational interests and private cabin owners is needed.