The following information will help familiarize you with the habitat and geography of Pennsylvania. The first settlement, in this 2nd state of the union, was in 1683 near Philadelphia. Pennsylvania's population is now near 12 million. Industries include: food and beverages, chemicals, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, steel and metal products, printing and publishing, paper, and transportation equipment. Raw material production includes: coal, natural gas, crude oil, limestone, sand and gravel, zinc, and clay. Much of the agricultural activity is in the SE quadrant of the state. Agricultural products include: dairy products, cattle, poultry, eggs, pigs, hay, corn, apples, potatoes, oats, and wheat. The elevation varies across the state from 500 to 3,200 feet above sea level. The average temperature varies with elevation, but generally: northern ½ - Jan. 27.5 degrees F/ July 70.3 degree F, average being 48.8 degrees F; southern ½ - Jan. 33.4 degrees F/ July 76.9 degrees F, average being 54.8 degrees F. Precipitation averages: northern ½ - 38.5"; southern ½ - 41.38". Land use breakdown: forest 57%, crop land 20%, pasture 3%, other including cities 20%.
Pennsylvania has around 2 million acres of state parks and forests and ½ million acres of a national forest. Much of the forested areas are quite remote, with unbroken areas up to 100 square miles -- vast when compared to Ohio. The Pa. game commission is doing a good job of wildlife management, especially with the reintroduction of species like elk, fisher, and river otter. The annual deer harvest in Pennsylvania is nearly double that of Ohio's, yet deer remain plentiful and in good condition. Elk populations have reached nearly 600. Bobcat populations are estimated to be in the 3200 range. Coyote populations have been estimated to be around 30,000. Black bear populations are thriving, averaging 300-500lbs, and have increased to a population of over 10,000. Pennsylvania's public hunting land is just a small percentage of the total wildlife areas. By contrast, Ohio's wildlife areas consist largely of public hunting land. Mammals that can be found in Pa. include: bats, mice, voles, rats, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, woodchuck, squirrels, opossum, raccoon, porcupine, skunk, beaver, muskrat, weasels, mink, fisher, pine martin, red and grey fox, coyote, bobcat, white-tailed deer, elk, and black bear. Snake populations in some areas are near normal, and Timber Rattlesnakes are rather common in many places.
Below is a land use map of Pennsylvania. The area outlined in white indicates where it is most likely a creature, such as Bigfoot, could be found. This is based on suitable habitat, wildlife surveys, food supplies, history of reports, and degree of remoteness. Most of the reports have occurred in the southern ½ of the outlined area, although the habitat in the northern ½ of the outlined area is more remote. Rural areas beyond the white outline have had some Bigfoot reports, and have an environment similar to Ohio. Green represents forest cover. Yellow represents either crop land, pasture, or other open areas. Blue represents large bodies of water. Red represents major urban areas.
Here are the counties we have identified where hoaxes and/or misinterpretations are common.
Cameron, Elk, Fayette, Somerset, Warren, and Westmoreland counties.
Land Overview and Ecological Niches
The Appalachian Mountain chain crosses the state of Pennsylvania from the South central region towards the New York/New Jersey border in the Northeast. This mountain chain consists of long 500-1000 foot wooded parallel ridges, separated by valleys of fertile farm land. Many of these ridges are without roads and see very little human visitation. Limestone caves can be found in the southern half of this mountain chain. Many of the larger caves have miles of passages, and are open for public tours. Some of these caves have yet to be fully explored. Indian artifacts, such as arrow heads and wall paintings, have been found in some of these caves.
Here is a view inside one of the
The Allegheny National Forest and most of the State Forest lands are found in the North central region. Here, the forest cover is largely unbroken except for: power and gas lines, storm damage, selective forestry, fire damage, and dirt service roads. The forest breaks are beneficial to foraging wildlife. The openings often contain tons of blueberries per acre, and are favored by black bears from June though August. This North central region is the most remote part of the state. One can travel the dirt roads all day long and rarely see anyone else.
An overlook of the expansive State forest land.
Another overlook from a trail.
This North central part of the state consists of a 2000 foot plateau, which has been eroded by ice-age glacial run off. The erosion process caused steep 1000 foot deep valleys to form. Today, these valleys contain clear-running, rock-bottomed creeks and rivers.
One of the many scenic creeks in north central Pa.
What Does All This Mean For Pennsylvania Bigfoot
There is a lot of room for a creature such as Bigfoot in Pennsylvania, even though Pa. is far less remote than the Pacific Northwest. Some areas of this state are genuinely devoid of human activity for years at a time. Few Bigfoot reports have been obtained and scant evidence has been found in the remote sections of the state. By contrast, evidence of Black bear and the less common Elk are easy to find. This implies that Bigfoot populations are very low or non-existent, making detection of the creature extremely difficult. More good reports are required in the remote sections of Pennsylvania to properly determine if Bigfoot exists there.
The Western-most ridge, in Southern part of the state, has had an incredible number of Bigfoot reports compared with the rest of the state. This ridge is not in the remote areas discussed above. An explanation for the high number of reports may be: many genuine Bigfoots inhabit the area, the area is actively researched compared to the rest of the state, hoaxers abound, misinterpretations are common, or a combination of these factors. Another possibility is that Bigfoot may prefer to remain near farmland food sources. One thing to keep in mind, we have had a considerable number of hoax incidents in this ridge area ourselves.
Our group has not obtained any convincing evidence that Bigfoot inhabits the state of Pennsylvania to date.