Helen B. Katz Natural Area

The Katz Natural Area features high-quality wetlands and floodplain along the slow-moving, meandering Cussewago Creek, a tributary to French Creek. Natural communities include northern hardwood forest; and forested, scrub-shrub, and emergent wetlands.

There’s a large hemlock forested wetland. About 35 acres of former agricultural fields are reverting to forest.

Background

This property is named in memory of Mrs. Helen Blockstein Katz, who bequeathed more than $5 million to the Conservancy. Thanks in part to her generosity, we’ve conserved more than 4,300 acres of land for the protection of rare species and important natural communities. Consistent with our goals of managing this property as a natural area, most of the residential structures were removed and more than 15 acres of trees were planted in former agricultural fields.

Location

  • Hayfield Township, Crawford County
  • Vernon Township, Crawford County

Dates Acquired

2012 - 2016

Size

Approximately 552 acres

Notable features

Slow moving creek, hemlock forest, ponds, wetlands and old fields

Recreational Activities

  • Eating Area / Benches
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (Designated Trail)
  • Hunting

Recreational Activities

Hiking

From the parking area off Rogers Ferry Rd., a rustic trail travels south about 0.5 mile, ending at a manmade pond. The trail is level, but portions may be wet at certain times of the year.

Wildlife Watching

The combination of floodplain, wetland, upland forest, and old field provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Wood ducks frequent the wetlands and Cussewago Creek. There’s also abundant beaver activity. As part of an Audubon Society Important Bird Area, habitat exists for a variety of birds, including cerulean warbler, hooded warbler, marsh wren, green-winged teal and pied-billed grebe.

Hunting and Fishing

Both hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with state regulations, although hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Please exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season. Trapping is not permitted.

Plan Your Visit

GPS Coordinates: 41.672003, -80.215992

Directions to the Trail Head Parking Lot

Directions

From I-79, take Exit 147B to US -322 W/US-6 W. Travel 1.5 miles and turn right onto PA-98 N. Travel 3.8 miles and turn right onto Rogers Ferry Road. Travel 0.6 mile and turn right into an old driveway entrance. Parking also is available at two locations along Rt. 98: an access road by a gas well and a small gravel lot.

Visitor Tips

Watch this introduction to Helen B. Katz Natural Area

It’s an easy walk along a level trail from the main parking lot to a pond. If heading off-trail, be sure to wear boots or shoes that can get wet. Be prepared for your visit by watching this short video about this natural area and reviewing the downloadable maps and materials below. We recommend downloading these files to your mobile device prior to visiting.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Katz Natural Area, please remember:

  • Only foot-traffic is permitted.
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited.
  • If you carry it in, carry it out.
  • Dogs must be on a leash.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
  • Avoid disturbance of agricultural activities on the southern portion of the Natural Area.
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit