Just north of Althom, Pa. along the dirt road to the right is the Allegheny River and Thompson Island, part of the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness, to the left is the mammoth sized 14427 acre State Games Lands #86, just ahead on the top of the hill is Anders Run Natural Area. This portion of the Cornplanter Forest is less than 20 miles southwest of Warren and directly across the river from the Allegheny National Forest. Arriving in late afternoon, it is early spring, a perfectly warm day, and I find myself in a tucked away portion of Pennsylvania standing with giants with some the tallest and oldest trees in North America.
The Anders Run Natural Area amounts to only 96 acres but contains a healthy stand of old growth white pine. Some of the pines in the stand are estimated to be over 150 foot tall, four foot around and over 200 years old. Towering over the valley the pines dwarf trees and vegetation in an unprotected area adjacent to the natural area. The difference is striking, The stand of full green white pines is a defiant demarcation between an area of natural beauty and one manufactured landscape. The deciduous trees at the edges of the stand are indicative of a young forest, remain leafless, their full bloom is still about two weeks away.
Flowing through the stand is Anders Run a modest stream flowing with cool clear melt water several inches deep catching and reflecting the near horizontal rays of the setting sun. The natural sounds of the flowing water mingled with the sing-song of early birds indicating spring has arrived.