The last time I was in the Allegheny forest, I was a teenager. The family had stayed at a relative's hunting camp for a week. One of the things I remember is that the bear was probably more frightened than my mom. She went out to get water for breakfast and there was a black bear in the yard. Her hollering sent it running. The Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania's only national forest, is a natural paradise that encompasses more than half a million acres of rugged plateau country in northwest Pennsylvania. From magic forests and timeless rivers to quaint historic towns, this unique corner of the universe is just waiting to be discovered. More than 600 miles of trails are available for activities ranging from hiking and mountain-biking to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Hundreds of creeks and streams cut through the plateau, creating rolling and sometimes steep hills covered with a typical eastern hardwood forest of black cherry, yellow poplar, white ash, red maples, sugar maples and more. Of particular note, 96 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail meander north to south through the Allegheny National Forest, allowing hikers to experience a variety of scenery, flora, and fauna. The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states. The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
I more or less paralleled the Allegheny River on my way to the forest. I had to stop several times to photograph the views of the Allegheny Valley.
Most of the trees in Allegheny are relatively young. The reason being that so much of Pennsylvania's forests were clear cut in the late 1800s.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep..." Robert Frost
A bug chunk of mountain
A forested mountain
The leaves were turning already
The sun peeks through
Another of the hills lining the Allegheny Valley
What's under the soil?
"Watch for falling rocks"
The tree lined road to Kinzua
The dam is 179 feet high and 1915 feet across. Not large campared to Grand Coolie or Hoover, but the largest east of the Mississippi.
Though its construction had been proposed as early as 1908, it wasn't until 1964 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Kinzua Dam to control flooding on the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, to provide for pollution abatement, and to create recreation facilities. The dam's reservoir flooded Seneca lands in Pennsylvania and all of New York's Allegany Indian Reservation?more than nine thousand acres in all. It inundated the last tribal lands in Pennsylvania, the Cornplanter Tract, and destroyed the Senecas' spiritual center, the Cold Spring Longhouse. The project forced the relocation of 130 Indian families. The Senecas sought an injunction to prevent construction, citing the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 between the United States and the Iroquois, which guaranteed Seneca rights to the land. They lost their suit, but Congress did compensate the Seneca Nation with $15 million for direct and indirect damages and to fund a rehabilitation program.
The proposal, planning, and construction of Kinzua Dam went forward in the face of determined Seneca protests and in violation of the 1794 treaty. Its history demonstrates that Congress may unilaterally violate treaties made with Indian nations. SOURCE: Encyclopedia of North American Indians And we still do.
A closer look at the face
And around to the rear
Four photos of Allegheny Resevoir. The red line is a float delineating the no boating/swimming area near the dam.
Back out front the Allegheny is a river again. I saw these birds flying about. They were acting like hawks, but I've no idea what they were. But they were entertaining
Some closer views of those birds, and the sun begins its descent.
As the sun set I headed for home.
I remember the protests concerning the building of the dam.
A Broken Promise
In 1965 the United States Army Corps of Engineers completed Kinzua Dam. Its rising water inundated all of the habitable land of Cornplanter's Grant along with 10,000 acres of the Seneca's Allegany Reservation in New York. Cornplanter's descendants and the Allegany Seneca fought to halt the construction of the dam. They cited the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, the oldest active treaty in the United States. This agreement, signed by both George Washington's representative and Cornplanter, guaranteed that the United States would never take the Seneca's land. This agreement states:
Now the United States acknowledges all the land within the aforementioned boundaries, to be the property of the Seneca Nation, and the United States will never claim the same, nor disturb the Seneca Nation.
The United States confiscated the Seneca's land by the right of eminent domain. Two hundred and thirty descendants of Chief Cornplanter lost their homeland in 1964 when the reservoir at Kinzua Dam filled. They lost their 175-year-old ancestral home--their houses, their hunting and fishing grounds, their church, and their school. SOURCE: Sovereign People