Allegheny National Forest Offering New Backpacking Program

December 26, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service is proud to announce the first Urban Connections backpacking program at Allegheny National Forest.

Urban Connections is a regional Forest Service program connecting residents of major metropolitan areas with opportunities to engage in nature-based experiences on public lands. Currently, the program works with the communities of Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit to offer guided outdoor experiences.

This past summer, Allegheny National Forest joined the program by offering overnight backpacking trips to urban residents. Forest staff will lead these trips to teach attendees how to safely and responsibly camp in remote areas. Participants are loaned backpacking equipment and informational resources to supplement their learning experience.

“We have a growing team of recreation professionals that are excited about connecting with our communities and forming new partnerships to support the stewardship of our lands. We owe it to ourselves to find ways to connect with one another, share these benefits with new audiences, and do so in a way that protects the land for future generations,” said Allegheny National Forest Recreation Program Manager, Jamie Klebanski.

The Urban Connections program is partnered with Leave No Trace and the PA Outdoor Corps (PAOC), an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Leave No Trace is a national educational program which informs visitors on how to reduce their environmental impact when recreating outdoors. The PAOC is a state initiative offering paid work experience and environmental educational opportunities to youth and young adults who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands.

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