Scotia - technically called Pennsylvania State Game Lands #176 - but locally referred to as The Barrens, Scotia, the Scotia Barrens, or that crazy place where the aliens landed. Find out why with this dual-purpose map featuring a modern day trail map on one side and an explanatory map of the history of iron ore mining at Scotia on the other side. Scotia has a big trail system predominantly for hiking. Cyclists and equestrians enjoy a series of major trail corridors that connect several major roads, bordering parks, and tie into the State College bike path system. This is an area well worth exploring. It's a big one - 36 x 24 inches, printed on waterproof plastic! The map scale is 1:16,000.
Scotia is a crazy place! It has it all—lots of small (and not-so-small) lakes, vernal pools, old railroad corridors, historical ruins, modern day shooting ranges and the pressure of the suburbs encroaching on all sides. Filled with beautiful landscapes that support a unique vegetation habitat due to severe growing conditions. This is because the soils are sandy, and the two minor ridges cause frost pockets to form year round. In fact, there is measurable frost even in summertime in Scotia, where temperatures can drop as much as 30 degrees cooler than in nearby State College. Pitch pine and scrub oak dominate the Barrens, but you'll also find an amazing variety of rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species such as the hoary puccoon, lupine, barrens buckmoth and frosted elfin. Where else can you find these? Would you even know a hoary puccoon if you saw one? You'll need to spend some time in Scotia to answer that one.
Scotia was a former iron ore mining community in the 1800s and early 1900s—a real town, with a company store, a one-room schoolhouse, a church, a Main Street with duplex houses, a big fancy Superintendents House, and a boarding house on the hill. It was also a major industrial mine, beginning with a hundred men working with picks and shovels, eventually becoming a network of railroads, steam shovels, boilers, pump derricks, ore washers, and a few hundred men trying to do back breaking work without getting killed in the middle of all this chaos. That chaos remains today in the form of odd shaped pits, mysteriously flooded lakes, concrete bunkers, and stone foundations. All of which are waiting for you to explore!
This map is a collaboration with ClearWater Conservancy
, an important Central Pennsylvania non-profit that specializes in land preservation. They preserved the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor, which abuts Scotia and continues to the Bald Eagle Mountain ridgetop. This also serves as a parking area and access to the northern side of the Barrens of rt. 550.
Many sponsors helped to make this map project a reality. Major Donors are Sweetland Engineering
, Wiscoy for Animals
, West Arete Computing
and Mr. Cliff Wurster. Supporting Sponsors include the Centre County Historical Society
, Heberling Associates
, Appalachian Outdoors
, Jaru Copy Services
, the Bicycle Shop
, Shubin Law Offices
, Freeze Thaw Cycles
, Ferguson Township
, Halfmoon Township
, Patton Township
, and the Nittany Running Club
. Supporting Grants were provided by the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Burea
, Centre County Community Foundation
, and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
What about that mention of aliens? Well, those concrete ruins are some crazy looking places today, with the forest growing up around them and locals going crazy with spray paint. It does seem other-worldly at times. But if I landed in Scotia on a spaceship I would be more interested in the beautiful ponds that lie on the western side, in the Tow Hill region. These are really beautiful places to explore, and on the way you'll see old stone foundations and other remnants of Scotia's industrial past. If you do find an artifact of some sort, such as an interesting old tool or unique object that leaves you scratching your head, please take it to Centre County Historical Society
. Scotia remains a historical puzzle, and the historians and archaeologists are working to reconstruct what was happening there in the 1800s.
We believe exploring Scotia may even change your life for the better. Go wander among the ruins and who knows what wonder you will find? Amazing places, incredible views, all kinds of rare plants and creatures and a few other happy people. Or, maybe you'll decide the woods are full of bugs and dirt and sharp pointy things and you prefer a soft couch and television wasteland. In which case you can hit the couch with full confidence that you tried the outdoor thing and it wasn't for you.
Health warning: continued use of these maps may result in an inability to stay indoors and a sudden criticism of traffic. Your skin may become covered with dust and dirt. Mild confusion will make it difficult to relate time and distance, which may alter your definition of weather. There is a potential for all of these side effects to occur simultaneously and without warning. That's why we are warning you now.
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