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Middle Allegheny River Watershed

From one of the overlooks perched high on the plateau, the middle Allegheny River in summer appears as a blue ribbon hemmed on either side with green. Its tight course at the foot of steep valley walls contrasts sharply with the creeks that crazily meander over the buried valleys to the north. People have valued the river for travel and subsistence for thousands of years. Indians built villages at Buckaloons at the mouth of the Brokenstraw and at Kanaougan at the mouth of the Conewango in present-day Warren, Pennsylvania. The French and English, both with an eye to controlling the North American fur trade, viewed this valley as pivotal to the acquisition of economic and political power. The British victory in the French and Indian War set the stage for conflict with American settlers. The only Revolutionary War skirmish in the region took place at Thompson’s Island, a few miles south of Buckaloons.

Since its banks were settled by land-grant pioneers in the late 1700’s, the valley of the Allegheny has been regarded as a source of livelihood and income. For more than 200 years the surrounding valleys have supplied timber, from white pine for ship’s masts to black cherry for fine furniture. The river and its tributaries suffered and recovered from the boom and bust of the oil industry’s early days. Today this great watershed remains the focal point of controversy concerning the balance between human economic interests and the integrity of a vast, complex, and changing ecosystem.

To view a Google map of all Atlas sites please visit this link.

Natural History Atlas sites in the Middle Allegheny River Watershed include:
Ander’s Run Natural Area
Buckaloons Recreation Area
Chapman’s Dam State Park
Cook Forest State Park
Heart’s Content Natural Area
H.J. Crawford Reserve
Oil Creek State Park
Tionesta Scenic Area
Washington Park/Point Park