Designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1973, Hemlocks Natural Area is the home to many hemlock trees that are believed to be more than 225 years old. Recently, the Pennsylvania forest became a new member of a national organization known as the Old-Growth Forest Network. Founded in 2012 by Joan Maloof, the organization aims to “preserve ancient forests for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” At the moment, the network has encompassed 177 forests across 32 states. Besides Hemlocks Natural Area, there are 25 other Pennsylvania forests that are already on the list. The designation is significant since it recognizes the commitment and efforts the state has made in terms of preserving the old-growth forest. At the same time, it reminds the state residents of the opportunities for outdoor recreation and experiencing nature offered by their state parks and forests.
Located along Hemlock Road near Big Spring State Park, Hemlocks Natural Area is home to a variety of trees including yellow birch, black birch, red oak, red maple, and chestnut oak. Among the hemlock trees growing in the forest, many are believed to be more than 225 years old. In the 120-acre virgin forest, the largest hemlock tree reaches over 120 feet tall and 50 inches in diameter.