The Pennsylvania Forest Heritage Association – formerly the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum Association – will open its Discovery Center for the season on Memorial Day Weekend. The center is located at Caledonia State Park, outside of Fayetteville in Franklin County. The center is located in the stone building – built by the C.C.C. in the 1930s – directly across the street from the park office. It will be open from one to five p.m. on Saturday and Sundays and on Monday during Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.
The Discovery Center tells the history of forest fire fighting in Pennsylvania with displays of tools, clothing and historical accounts of fire fighting wildfires. There is one room dedicated to Smokey Bear and his message of fire prevention. Children will have an opportunity to try a backpack pump and view a Type 3 Wildland Fire Engine used in the 1970s.
There is something for all ages and the knowledgeable staff is available to answer questions. Private tours and groups are welcome on other days with advance planning.
The Pennsylvania Forest Heritage Association has broadened its horizons to document, preserve and tell the story of Pennsylvania’s forests. Logging, charcoal making, railroads, mining and other industries that helped Pennsylvania grow were all dependent on Pennsylvania forests in order to prosper. Fire followed the axe as the vast forests of the state were cut. Through the efforts of a few visionaries the forests were allowed to re-grow and thrive. An effective fire protection system was developed along with a State Forest System that today encompasses 2.2 Million acres, that is approximately 13% of all the forested land in the Commonwealth.
Caledonia State Park is located just west of Gettysburg on U.S. Route 30 and offers all the amenities Pennsylvania’s state parks, including camping, picnicking, hiking and swimming.