THE LAUREL HIGHLANDS HIKING TRAIL SHELTERS FUND
For the better part of 40 years, the 40 Adirondack style shelters of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail have provided a safe and comfortable overnight for countless hikers. With use and the passage of time, however, the chimneys and fireboxes at each shelter have deteriorated. Thanks to grants from REI to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF); funds from PPFF and the Friends of Laurel Hill; donations from private individuals, the Laurel Highlands Ultra, and many other generous people; and the hard work of our top-notch mason and DCNR staff, the chimneys and fireboxes in two of the eight shelter areas have been saved and two more are in the process of restoration. (A "before" and "after" from Route 653 is shown here.)
But time is no longer on our side—our mason estimates that this could be the last functional year for the remaining four shelter areas at Route 56, Grindle Ridge, Route 31, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Now through a grant of $10,000 from REI (thank you to those who voted for our project in REI’s two Pittsburgh stores) there is renewed hope for restoration of the remaining LHHT shelters. With your support, the remaining $14,000 needed to restore all the shelters is in reach.
Note: If we surpass our goal of $14,000, the funds will be used to build firewood shelters at each area to keep wood dry for campers.
The LHHT Shelters are an important part of the LHHT’s history and a key reason why hiking this trail is such a significant experience. A novice backpacker’s first taste of a long-distance trek can include overnights under roof with a roaring fire while still being able to experience sleeping under the stars. They have been the introduction to a lifelong passion for many of the trail’s most ardent supporters and are often what we think of when we think of the LHHT.
You have the opportunity to make sure these special places are available to another generation (or two) of LHHT hikers. Adopt a Shelter* through your donation of $1,250 (or choose another appropriate level of support) and put your mark on this wonderful project.
Thanks to a donation from (and design by) trail aficionado Dale Yohe, all donors of $10 or more receive a limited edition LHHT sticker and $15 donors receive a patch. Donate $20 and receive both! Likewise, trail aficionado Dane Cramer has designed and is selling a limited edition shirt and a portion of the proceeds are coming to PPFF for the Shelters Fund.
*Please note that DCNR regulations will not permit placement of a plaque or other signage upon the shelters themselves. Your donation of $1,250 will be recognized on a plaque in the Laurel Hill State Park office—and in the hearts of every Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail user. And you will receive a special "before and after" photograph of "your" shelter!"
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation