ones hearts content

Hearts Content National Scenic Area

Hearts Content National Scenic Area is a tract of old-growth forest in Warren County, northwestern Pennsylvania. It represents one of the few remaining old-growth forests in the northeastern United States that contain white pine. The area is protected as a National Scenic Area within the Allegheny National Forest.


While many of the region's forests were being clear-cut, the Wheeler and Dusenbury Lumber Company held the tract of old-growth forest at Heart's Content from 1897 until 1922, when they deeded it to the United States Forest Service. In 1934, the Chief of the Forest Service recognized the old-growth stand and of surrounding land as a National Scenic Area. The forest became a National Natural Landmark in 1977.

Scientific study

H.J. Lutz's study of Hearts Content was one of the earliest quantitative analyses of plant communities in an old-growth forest, and it remains influential in the field of ecology. Lutz concluded that the even-aged white pine stand established following a major disturbance about 350 years ago, such as a fire; since then, the species has not reproduced under the closed canopy. By relocating and resampling Lutz's original plots, Whitney documented 50 years of changes in the structure and composition of the stand. During this time, dense deer populations have reduced the regeneration of many tree and herb species.


Hearts Content represents E. Lucy Braun's hemlock-white pine-northern hardwood forest type. The stand's dominant tree species include hemlock, beech and white pine. Many of the hemlocks and white pines have diameters of over and heights of over . Most of the white pine are between 300 and 400 years old. Beech bark scale affects many of the beech trees. Hay-scented fern covers much of the understory due to overbrowsing by deer.


Visitors can walk an easily accessible, loop trail through the old-growth forest. A picnic area, campground and several other trailheads are nearby. A cross-country ski trail passes through the area on old railroad grades. There are also numerous camps owned by private individuals in the area.

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