Lumber Heritage in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors

If you could go back in time, could see what it was like in parts of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Region, you might not recognize where you are. A good example would be Forest County.

Written by Beth Exley

Founded in 1857, Forest County grew from a population of 898 to 11,039 in just 40 short years. What caused this boom in population? Timber. What is now the PA Great Outdoors region was a prime timber area. Harvested and then shipped out via the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers, the timber employed many people and brought thousands to the area for jobs.

What did a lumber camp look like? Where were the mills and what were they like? Today you can go to the Lumber Camp Replica at the Forest County History Center at 206 Elk Street, Tionesta.


Pennsylvania’s Lumber Heritage Region helped construct the camp which displays a number of tools used by the wood hicks (lumbermen) as well as the barge builders. It also has a display of photos from the Collins Mill in Nebraska and the Wheeler and Dusenbury Mills in Newtown and Endeavor.

Keep an eye on the blog posts for the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors and True Tales from the Clarion River to read the stories told by men who actually rode down the Clarion River with the lumber on the way to market. These stories take you back to when the Clarion River was a way of transporting goods. Today we can only imagine the harrowing trips these men made down the Clarion in order to make a living.


Travel back to today where Forest County and both the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers are beautiful places for outdoor activities including hiking, ATV riding, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, site-seeing, wildlife watching, and picnicking. Enjoy your time in the Great Outdoors and take some time to look back at what got us to where we are at the Forest County History Center.

For more information on the PA Great Outdoors region, go to

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