Agriculture Secretary Joins Local Ag Educator to Climb Blue Knob State Park’s Tallest Tree to View Lasting Impact of Investments in Sustainable Forestry

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding joined Danville Area High School agriculture teacher and forester Van Wagner at Blue Knob State Park in Bedford County to raise awareness of Pennsylvania’s hardwood forests, and the investments of the Shapiro Administration in agriculture and recreation to grow help grow Pennsylvania’s economy.

“The value of our forests extends far beyond the $39 billion our hardwoods industry feeds into our economy every year,” Secretary Redding said. “Parks like Blue Knob serve as crucial hubs for tourism and recreation, offering opportunities to recharge physically and connect with nature and family.”

During the hike, Wagner climbed the tallest tree in the park, the 46th climb of his ‘67 Trees on 67 Mountains in 67 Counties’ project.

“Pennsylvanian’s forests are a treasure — financially, spiritually, culturally, and ecologically,” Wagner said. “My goal of climbing the highest tree on the highest mountain in all 67 counties is an effort to remind Pennsylvanians that they are all part of the conversation of forest management in our commonwealth. Our forests require management in order to remain healthy, and it is my hope that everyone will play an active role in the conversations about managing our forests for today, and for the centuries to come.”

Blue Knob State Park offers scenic views and serenity across 6,128 acres of land, providing opportunities to explore more than 23 miles of hiking, 19 miles of mountain biking, overnight camping, swimming, hunting, birding, and history.

“Pennsylvania’s forests are more than just beautiful places for people to play outside, they are the natural capital from which our outdoor recreation economy grows and pays dividends,” said Director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner. “Investments in our forests are investments in the quality of our communities, the vibrance of our economy, and the competitiveness of our commonwealth.”