Given the right species, habitat and health, a tree can live for a very long time. That’s the case for a 40-acre stand of American beech-sugar maple forest at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Tryon-Weber Woods Natural Area. Some of the trees in this forest in Sadsbury Township, Crawford County are at least 90 to 120 years old. On May 17, the Old-Growth Forest Network formally recognized the area to be incorporated into its network of old-growth forests across the country.
Dedicated to saving trees and teaching about the importance of ancient forests, Joan Maloof, the founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, says the mission of her organization is to connect people with nature by creating a national network of protected, mature, native forests. Maloof presented the designation to WPC Director of Land Stewardship Andrew Zadnik at a ceremony where attendees – many of whom were students and professors from the University of Pittsburgh’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology – hiked the natural area to view the tall, old-growth trees that are considered to be one of the last remaining mature stands of this forest type in Western Pennsylvania. A sign designating the area as part of the network was also installed at the property entrance.
WPC acquired Tryon-Weber Woods in May of 1976 and it is open to the public for nature watching, exploring and hunting. Ecology students from the University of Pittsburgh have been using the forest for years for a variety of research projects, including learning about the effect of deer browsing on forest health. If visiting this area to see these large and magnificent trees, please be advised that there is limited parking and signage, and no designated trails.