Many parks are the result of generous donations from private landowners who wanted to see their land protected for future generations. Boyd Big Tree is such a place. Covering over 1,000 acres, Alexander Boyd donated his land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to become a public preserve in 1999. Mr. Boyd was the president of the Union Deposit Corporation. The purpose of the preserve was to protect and promote the growth of big trees, or in other words, an old-growth forest. Thanks to people like Alexander Boyd, or natural heritage has been enriched.
Today, the preserve offers 12 miles of trails, open fields and meadows, a pavilion, pond, and an exhibition area for the growth of chestnut trees.
The preserve is located north of Harrisburg and I was down there for a training a few weeks ago. After I was done for the day, I decided to check out the preserve. The day was humid with dark, billowing clouds that threatened rain. It was early evening so I did not have much time to hike. The trails were easy and several were wide gravel paths through a forest of hardwoods. Some of the trees were quite large. A few mountain laurel bushes comprised the understory. I followed a series of trails that brought me to a small pond set in a wooded valley. Winds whipped the trees high above.
I continued my hike along another trail that soon brought me back to my car and a view looking down the valley as the rain began to fall.
For more information about the preserve, including maps, click here.