Wolf Creek Narrows, PA   Carl Harting
  August 16, 2004 
 
View from the hillside above Wolf Creek near the narrows. Largest trees in the photo are tulip poplars.
Wolf Creek from the bridge just below the narrows. Mature hardwood forest is on the right, cliff extends along the left shore. A trail takes a circular route over the flood plain and up onto the hillside to the right.
Wolf Creek looking downstream toward the bridge. Parking area is on the right side of the bridge about 50 yards from the creek on the left side of the road. Trail begins just past the left end of the bridge.

Wolf Creek Narrows is located in northwestern Butler County, Pennsylvania. It consists of 115 acres owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy with a trout stream flowing along the southern border. Wolf Creek flows through a narrow valley which is supposed to have been a cave that was eroded by melting glaciers and now has 50 foot cliffs on either side of the creek. The land was granted to a Revolutionary War veteran and remained in his family until purchased by WPC in the late 70's/early 80's. The majority of the site was never logged, and what logging did occur took place on the tops of the ridges around the year 1900. There is a narrow flood plain near the western end of the property which has large sycamore, tulip, hemlock and red maple. The drier ridge tops have sugar maple, beech, black cherry and red oak. A 1.5 mile trail loop begins at the bridge over Wolf Creek and gives access to most of the site, but bring boots because it gets pretty swampy. I've visited the site twice but only had a short time to measure trees. The following is a quick list of the tallest...

CBH HEIGHT

Tulip n/a 124

Tulip 4.2 103.5

Tulip 6.8 109.4

Red Maple 8.4 105.7

Sycamore 8.9 118.3

Sycamore 7.4 117.3

N Red Oak 7.4 108

Beech 7.0 109.3

 

This site is well known for its spring wildflowers including large areas of trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), bluebells (Mertensia virginica), spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum). As I measured the trees this past April I had to pay constant attention to my footsteps to avoid destroying them. This site needs a more thorough going-over this fall and hopefully I'll be able to post a more complete tree list at that time.

Directions - from the Slippery Rock exit of I-79 take Rt. 108 to Slippery Rock. Turn left at the first traffic signal, then take the next left (Water Street) and go about 2 miles to the iron grate bridge over Wolf Creek. Parking is just across the bridge on the left side of the road, and the trail loop is on the opposite side of the bridge on the west side of the road.

Carl Harting

 
RE: Wolf Creek Narrows   
  

On the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy website a several notes about Wolf Creek Narrows:

1)1979 -- Conservancy purchases 100-acre Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area in Butler County. The site is famous for its spectacular display of spring wildflowers.

2)Wolf Creek Narrows invasive plant management This natural area was part of a land grant given to a veteran of the Revolutionary War and remained in the possession of his descendants until Western Pennsylvania Conservancy acquired the property in 1979. In addition to the mixed stands of mature forest, Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area harbors a spectacular diversity and abundance of spring wildflowers. An invasive non-native plant called purple loosestrife is threatening native species on the stream's islands and floodplain. Volunteers are needed to cut and remove purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Dates: August 14th, Time: 9:00am 2:00pm, Location: Near Slippery Rock in Slippery Rock Township

3)Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area Hike from Cynthia Closkey (unfortunately the listing doesn't link to anything.)

4) http://www.wpconline.org/dailyphotos/wpcdaily-12-18.asp 

5) http://www.wpconline.org/dailyphotos/wpc-d-4-29.asp 

6) http://www.wpconline.org/dailyphotos/wpcdaily-7-31.asp 

7) http://www.wpconline.org/dailyphotos/wpcdaily-8-1.asp 

8) http://www.paconserve.org/conservation/ naturalresource/historicalprojects/78_projects.htm 
 
Wolf Creek Natural Area (Butler Co.)
It is believed that the steep, narrow gorge of Wolf Creek was created by glacial activities of the last ice age. Once a cave whose ceiling was eroded by runoff from a melting glacier, Wolf Creek Narrows gorge consists of a high-quality stream meandering through towering 50-foot cliffs. Numerous springs pour from cracks in the steep walls, creating small waterfalls that flow into Wolf Creek.

9) http://www.paconserve.org/conservation/ naturalresource/wpcowned/wolfcreek.htm  nice description of the site

Other sites talking about Wolf Creek Narrows

1) http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/style/homegarden/s_187294.html 

2) book: 50 hikes in Western Pennsylvania

3)  http://listserv.arizona.edu/cgi-bin/ wa?A2=ind9611a&L=birdeast&F=&S=&P=1524 

BIRDEAST archives -- November 1996, week 1 (#20)
Audubon trip Nov 5, 1996: Butler County: 
4 SANDHILL CRANE continue to be seen in farm fields on West Water Street going west out of Slippery Rock past the parking lot of Wolf Creek Narrows/Miller's tract. The group is usually in the farm fields to the right as you go around the bend in the road after Wolf Creek Narrows and before you arrive at the communications tower. This is the same Butler County site they favored since late August and the location where all seven were seen last fall. An pair of adult Bald Eagle were seen at the Glades (PA State Gameland 95) on Nov. 3, both sitting on their nest.

4) http://www.geocities.com/aicerno/Aicerno_and_Jade4.html   
In terms of nude recreation, Jade and I have gone to several swims with the West Penn Naturists, and in an attempt to get more college students involved with it, I started the Slippery Rock Sunbathers. My favorite spot (weather permitting) for skinny dipping is up in the Wolf Creek Narrows area.