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2.26.2014

Our visit to Linn Run State Park, the weekend of February 21st-23rd

Linn Run State Park! This state park is one of a few that borders the area in Southwestern PA known as Forbes State Forest, a place where visionary Pennsylvania governors Robert Pattison, the guy who is the namesake for Pattison Ave in Philadelphia, Edwin Stewart and Daniel Hastings saw land that was fully decimated by logging and started efforts to revamp these dead lands. Folks told them that they were "crazy" for having purchased logged wasteland like this, but these guys saw the importance of keeping forest land. Forbes State Forest and the surrounding state parks are all large second growth forests now. At the time of purchase, the lands consisted of nothing more than destruction. Everything was cut from the trees except for the tree tops. The large logs would become lumber, the hemlock bark tannin was utilized for tanneries and the small logs were used to prop up the plenitude of coal mines throughout the area. Only dead tree tops were left from this once first growth forest.

The competent state legislature and executives at the time saw the wisdom of revitalizing this forest, and I am glad they did. The place is truly spectacular. Linn Run State Park is simply magnificent. It is a relatively small state park at just over 600 acres if I recall correctly. It has only a few hiking trails, but it has powerful mountain creeks running through it, even including a small waterfall. The most spectacular historical aspect of the park is the preservation of CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, built cabins.

 If you are unfamiliar with the CCC, it is an organization that was founded under the New Deal Programs created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that helped to pull the country out of the Great Depression. The goal of the CCC was to replenish forests and create affordable destinations for folks to visit, especially to visit utilizing the relatively new contraption, the automobile. The ultimate goal of the program was to instill a work ethic in young men between the ages of 18 and 25. In nine years over 3 million young men built cabins, infrastructure like roads and forest fire protection and planted 3 billion trees. If you visit an area and see straight lines of trees, there is a good chance that it was part of a CCC project.

After roughly 80 years, the spectacular CCC built cabins remain at Linn Run State Park. They are part of a National Historic District. These cabins feature a sleeping area, kitchen area and a wonderful fireplace to heat the place. Most importantly, these cabins helped instill a work ethic in young men that would help make the later end of workers part of the Greatest Generation that won World War II and ushered in a period of economic expansion that our nation never saw prior or after that point. The cabins are beautiful and all built along a roaring mountain creek.

The cabins are simply wonderful. They have also been recently updated to include a modern oven and stovetop along with a refrigerator. The best part of all is how affordable these cabins are. You can make reservations on the Pennsylvania State Parks website. Because of the affordability of these cabins, even us with our limited incomes were able to afford to spend a weekend there. 
 Nothing refreshes quite like fresh and cold mountain spring water! It does not exactly look appetizing in this photo, but trust me that it is amazing. 
The scenery is completely spectacular. It was a great weekend because the snow pack was all still remaining, but the temperatures were in the 40s. Additionally, the snow pack enabled me to do a little hiking with a walking stick on one of their very nice and even hiking trails. It hurt quite a bit in my condition but it was bearable. Some things are worth the pain. 
Just looking at the pictures I can almost hear the roar of the mountain creek. 
A little bit of melting happening with the creek cutting into the snow mounds. 

Here is a small waterfall, Adams Falls.
I highly recommend taking the trip to check out this park. The cabins are also located within 20 minutes of Idlewild and the ski areas, making for a nice place to stay for year round thrills. 
I saw these classic gas pumps on the way out and had to take a picture of them. 
Ski time!
Just kidding, I can't ski anymore anyways. DCNR, please do not let Seven Springs continue to sit on the lease for the ski area. Laurel Mountain has the steepest ski slopes in Western PA. Why does the state let Seven Springs sit on the lease and not reopen the ski area?
Anyways, we had a great weekend and I hope you go and check out Linn Run for yourselves!

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