Kings Gap Environmental Center
500 Kings Gap Road
Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 486-5031

Places Nearby:
Huntsdale Fish Hatchery
Carlisle Barracks
John Harris Mansion
Museum of Scientific Discovery
State Museum of Pennsylvania
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Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center comprises a sprawling 1,443-acre forest in Cumberland County. Fifteen miles of hiking trails connect with three main day use areas, creating a beautiful resource for family hiking, photography, bird watching, and other activities.

The Pine Plantation day use area is a cool shaded forest of white pine, Douglas fir, and larch -- quite different from the surrounding deciduous forest. It is an important habitat for a variety of animals and birds.

The Pond day use area is popular for nature study because of the diversity of life it supports. Turtles, salamanders, and other reptiles will be found here in addition to a variety of insects. A trail wraps around the pond, allowing easy access.

The Mansion day use area features the 32-room former summer residence of James McCormick Cameron. Today it houses the Center's offices and training facilities. The surrounding area is home to a variety of mammals and reptiles, including the box turtle, the five-lined skink, the northern copperhead, and the timber rattlesnake. The snakes can sometimes be seen hunting rodents along the mansion's walls. Though poisonous and deserving of our respect, in their natural habitats these snakes retreat when threatened.

A permanent Orienteering area is located at Kings Gap for those who want to learn how to use map and compass.

The Center offers a wide range of family and children's programs and workshops featuring hands-on activities and tours. These seasonal events take place throughout the year, so call for a calendar.

Kings Gap provides first rate educational opportunities for School Groups through its Field Learning Experiences (FLES) for grades Pre-K through 12. The FLES generally follow the sequence and continuum outlined in Activities for Environmental Learning, a supplemental curriculum developed by the PA Bureau of State Parks. The sequential programming addresses nine major concepts over ten grade levels. Pre-K through 3rd grade activities stress environmental awareness; intermediate levels impart a basic understanding of ecological principles and concepts; and secondary levels focus on application of environmental knowledge. Interested teachers should call for complete details.

School Groups can also take Self-Guided Programs, and teacher training is available to facilitate this option. Outreach Programs are available, and Residential Programs for students in grades 4, 5 and 6 are conducted at a nearby state park. Call for more information.

Hours: Open daily, 8am - Sunset. Office is open on weekdays, 8am - 4pm and on weekends and evenings when a public program is scheduled.
Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance for groups visits. Reservations should also be made for family programs.
Lunch: Bagged lunch may be eaten, but bring a blanket.
Handicapped Access: Partial. Call.
Directions: I-76 West just past Harrisburg to I-81 South to Exit 11. Rt. 223 South 2½ miles to Pine Rd. Turn left onto Pine and go about 2½ miles to entrance on right. 2 - 2½ hours west of Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.