Land Conservation

Bennett Branch Forest

Bennett Branch Forest is a 1,500-acre remote forested wilderness open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, fishing and much more! Located in Elk and Clearfield counties, this property has steep ravines and trails where nature and outdoor enthusiasts can explore and enjoy the natural beauty of this forest situated within the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. The property protects wildlife habitat and water quality of many small streams including Cherry Run, a tributary of the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning Creek.

Hiking Bennett Branch Forest 400x300

HIKING

Wildlife Watching at Bennett Branch 400x300

WILDLIFE VIEWING

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HUNTING

WPC continues to improve Bennett Branch Forest with projects to improve water quality and restore the land. Sustainable forestry practices are used to manage the forest. Areas formerly mined for coal have been planted with a mix of hardwood trees, including a strain of potentially blight-resistant American chestnut. Recently, a system of ponds were constructed to treat abandoned mine drainage (AMD). large areas of mine spoils are being removed and a highwall from an abandoned strip mine will be reclaimed.

General Information

Location

Jay Township, Elk County; Huston Township, Clearfield County

Dates Acquired

2008-2012

Size

1,465 acres

Notable Features

Oak/northern hardwood forest, hemlock groves, Cherry Run (a tributary of Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning Creek)

Directions

From I-80 in DuBois, exit at Rt. 255N. Travel north to the village of Hollywood. Turn left onto 5-Points Rd. (Hollywood Rd.), and travel to the first gated road on the right. - VIEW ON MAP

Management Activities

Sustainable timber harvest, forest restoration (including the introduction of experimental American chestnut) on reclaimed strip mine, and construction of a system to treat abandoned mine drainage (AMD).

Recreational Activities

Hiking and Biking

Visitors can hike this remote property on a newly designed 3.6-mile round-trip trail. From the parking area off 5-Points Rd. (Hollywood Rd.), a hiking and biking trail leads into the forest. The first half mile of the trail is extremely steep. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

Observing Plants and Wildlife

The property hosts a mixed northern hardwood forest that provides extensive wildlife habitat. In addition to forest-dwelling species, elk are sometimes seen roaming the property.

Camping

Backcountry camping is permitted throughout the forest, though campfires are not allowed.

Hunting

Hunting is permitted during hunting season, except on Sundays. Trapping is prohibited. All visitors should exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season.

Fishing and paddling

Near the village of Force, a public access site is available for fishing and paddling in the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek. This site was installed as part of WPC’s Canoe Access Development Fund.

Visiting Guidelines

When visiting Bennett Branch Forest, please remember:

  • Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Bicycles are permitted on designated trails only.
  • Trapping is prohibited.
  • All hunting is prohibited on Sundays.
  • Dumping/littering is prohibited.
  • Dogs must be on a leash.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
  • Certain areas may be off-limits during timber harvest activities
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit.

Please exercise caution and avoid those areas under reclamation as part of an abandoned mine remediation project occurring on the eastern side of the property. Also, be aware that logging trucks may occasionally use the trail off 5-Points Rd. during sustainable timber harvest operations. Contact us at 412-288-2777 or info@paconserve.org for information on current conditions prior to your visit.

Plan Your Visit

Bennett Branch Forest GPS Coordinates:  41.246, -78.541

With nearly 1,500 acres of forest and 3.6 miles of trail to explore, Bennett Branch Forest promises to offer trail-goers and nature lovers an adventure! The trail is purposely managed to have minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. Please be advised that the first half mile of the trail is extremely steep and could be challenging for young children and those with limited mobility.

This forest is free to the public for all to enjoy. Prepare for your outdoor adventure by familiarizing yourself with the preserve, bringing along a map or GPS unit, wearing sturdy boots or shoes and having plenty of water. We also recommend downloading the following files to your device prior to visiting, as cell phone reception is not always available in this area.

Maps of Bennett Branch Forest

ONLINE MAP

Get Directions

PROPERTY MAP

Find Trails & Activities

INTERACTIVE MAP

Explore the WPC Map

For More Information:

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Allegheny Regional Office
159 Main St.
Ridgway, PA 15853

814-776-1114
alleghenyproject@paconserve.org

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Pittsburgh Office
800 Waterfront Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

412-288-2777
toll-free: 1-866-564-6972
info@paconserve.org