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5.14.2017

Sherman Memorial Lighthouse: A Gem on the Allegheny River

As you drive up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, it does not take long to see how wild and scenic the river gets. When you get up to Tionesta in Forest County, one of the small towns located alongside the river, you will see a lighthouse not unlike those you see in places like Coastal Maine. This is an odd thing to see, for while the river is navigable at this point, the lighthouse is not needed for navigational aid. Instead, a group of citizens in the town have created an attraction with one of the few inland lighthouses in the state. Erie and Philadelphia are the only direct port cities in the state. Several of the lighthouses in Erie are considered to be inland lighthouses, meaning they are not considered to be meant for navigational aid. The Turtle Rock Light at Boathouse Row in Philadelphia, while it is pretty much an inland lighthouse, is still considered necessary for navigation. The Sherman Lighthouse is an unusual thing to see within Pennsylvania. 
The lighthouse is fully operational and it was a dream come true for lighthouse aficionado Jack Sherman. It is now named in his honor as the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse. It has seven floors and is open to the public for three days of the year. The profits from the tours go to the Tionesta Lions Club. This photo shows the sun almost aligned with the lighthouse, making it look as if the sun is the light within the building.

The Tionesta Dam impounds a reservoir, which has boat launches, a beach, a campground, general picnic areas, fishing, and hunting opportunities. It also serves as a gateway to the nearby Allegheny National Forest, making this an excellent launching point. The dam was built between 1938 and 1941 as a direct reaction to the devastating St. Patrick's Day flood of 1936 in Pittsburgh. It serves as a flood control barrier and it created a new habitat and recreation area.

From here, you can launch further into the beautiful and scenic ride up the Allegheny River and into the Allegheny National Forest. The ride is beautiful all the way up through the Allegheny Reservoir and into the Seneca Nation Indian Reservation in the area of Salamanca, NY. A very scenic and awesome drive. 
For those of you who love hiking, there are a number of great trails, including the North Country Trail that meanders from New York to North Dakota. Some of my favorite hikes are located along this route, including those in McConnells Mill State Park in PA, the Allegheny National Forest, and Treman State Park in New York. The NCT travels right through here and it is absolutely beautiful.

All in all, this is a place that gets our thumbs up. You need to explore it and check it out. This place is filled with adventure. 

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