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The Little Drummer Historical Pathway is a journey through managed wildlife habitats consisting of two loops. The short loop is 1.3 miles, and the longer loop is 3.1 miles.
The pathway is located within the Owls Nest Ecosystem Management Demonstration Area of the Allegheny National Forest. You will hike through one of the areas on the Forest managed for a roadless environment, but at the same time you will learn of the importance of the historical means of transportation in the development of this area around the turn of the century. The area is also a Watchable Wildlife Area.
The pathway was named for the breeding grouse (called "drummers") living in this area and for the extensive number of historic railroads, pipelines, and camps located there.
The interior portion (away from the road) of the area is managed to provide habitat for wildlife species associated with early successional stages of forest habitat, such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, common yellowthroats, chestnut-sided warblers, and young turkey. Through this management we also expect to produce high quality wood fiber.
The portion of the area near the road is managed to provide habitat for wildlife species associated with mature hardwood forests, such as turkey, bear, and cavity-nesting birds and mammals. Through this management we also expect to enhance scenic quality and provide recreation opportunities.
The habitat management you will learn about as you hike the Little Drummer Historical Pathway was funded by the Ruffed Grouse Society and the National Wild Turkey Federation through their fund-raising banquets. The trailhead and pathway improvements were funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. This brochure was funded by the Eastern National Forest Interpretive Association.
The short loop of the Little Drummer Historical Pathway leads to Cole Run Pond and then returns to the parking lot. The longer loop goes all the way around Cole Run Pond, and you can return on one of the legs of the smaller loop. Plan an hour''s walk if you do the short loop. Plan 3-4 hours if you do the long loop. Wear rubber-bottomed boots if you hike the long loop.
Opportunities to view upland wildlife - deer, squirrel, grouse, songbirds, and turkey, are plentiful on the pathway. Wildlife associated with wetlands and riparian areas - such as turtles, frogs, snakes, waterfowl, and beaver can be seen near Cole Run Pond.
The restroom adjacent to the parking lot is easily accessible to persons with disabilities. The part of the forest the trail is in has a semi-primitive recreation classification, which offers a "difficult" level of accessibility.
The trail is clearly marked with off-white diamond-shaped markers on trees, or with decals on brown plastic posts. Walk-in camping is permitted along the trail. Campfires are permitted as long as they are maintained in a fire ring and are fully extinguished upon departing. Return the site to its natural appearance.
The skill level of this hiking area is moderate. Areas of this pathway are often wet; waterproof footgear is recommended.
We encourage you to hike with at least one other person and to leave your itinerary with friends so they will know where to look if you don''t return on time or need assistance.
This pathway is open for winter hiking. Remember to dress in layers appropriate for the weather conditions. Be aware that this area is used heavily in the late fall and spring by hunters. It is a good idea to wear bright fluorescent colored clothing if hiking during these time periods.