ACTION ALERT: Please Voice Your Support to the USDA for Saving the American Chestnut Tree!

The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) have been leading an unprecedented mission to restore the American chestnut tree to its native range. Researchers at ESF have developed Darling 58, a transgenic American chestnut tree with enhanced blight tolerance and have submitted a petition to the USDA’s office of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to clear the way for restoration planting programs.

The public comment period, an important step in the USDA-APHIS review, is now open through October 19, 2020. Please submit a comment to help demonstrate your support for the Darling 58 so together we can save the beloved American chestnut tree. If approved by USDA-APHIS, Darling 58 can be planted for general use in restoration programs.

Learn more:

Visit TACF’s Public Comment Period webpage to review helpful resources prior to submitting your comment:

Check out the September 4th TACF Chestnut Chat on the Public Comment Period:

Submit your comments by either of the following methods:

    • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery:Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2020-0030, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Architectural Phenotyping Measurements at the Stokes State Forest

Many thanks to Les Nichols, Jim Searing, Mike Aucott, Betsy Murtha, Sean Freidhof, and Jack Shuart who helped take architectural phenotyping measurements at the Stokes State Forest Chinese chestnut plantation on September 15. Both Les and Jack has helped install and maintain the planting since 2006. Jack is a retired forester with the New Jersey Forestry Service, and he has been the primary driver of this project since it’s inception.

The Chinese chestnuts at Stokes were initially planted in 2006 as a project to measure their resistance when planted on 5’ spacing. There are 3 separate genotypes planted, one from a tree called “Uncle Ed” from near Westtown, PA and gathered by long-time member Peter Lane. Another source from Rick Entrekin gathered near Huntingdon, PA. And the third comes from Chinese trees which had been planted at the site in the 1950s as part of USDA trials of Chinese chestnuts.

The trees were inoculated in 2010 and measured in 2011. There were no discernable differences in blight-resistance between the various genotypes at that time. The progeny of the older trees planted at Stokes has enjoyed the best survival and growth over the other two genotypes. Stay tuned for the results of this phenotyping, especially as it compares to data collected at the F1 and F2 plantations measure this summer at Codorus State Park.

2020 Self-Guided Walk in Penn’s Wood

Allegheny National Forest

TACF member, Mike Aucott offered a guided tour of Allegheny National Forest featuring American chestnuts in the wild last year, as part as the Walk in Penn’s Woods event. With COVID 19, the Walk in Penn’s Wood’s partnership has declared the entire month of October a time to get out and explore with a Walk in Penn’s Woods! 

So, Mike has provided the coordinates and maps below so you can plan your own American chestnut hike in Allegheny National Forest. Please be sure to take photos of your experience and share them with us and on social media #mywalkinpennswoods. Please email them to for us to share as well. 

Walk Address: Tracy Ridge Campground parking lot; GPS coordinates: 41.945, -78.876


Tracy Ridge campground closeup annotated

Tracy Ridge trails map annotated

Walk Description:

Start out at Tracy Ridge Campground parking lot and proceed to trailhead of trail #1 which is about 50 yards west of the parking lot. The walk will continue along marked trail for about 0.8 miles, at which point we’ll take a detour uphill and to the east to intersect the “E loop” of campsites. In this area there are several large surviving American chestnut trees whose crowns reach the canopy as well as many smaller chestnut trees.

Now you can head back to the parking lot along the campground roads from this point. Or continue  back downhill to rejoin the marked trail, and proceed along this trail down along Johnnycake Run. About a mile further along the way there is another area with numerous American chestnut trees, at least one of which is about 70 feet tall. At this point the guided walk will turn back and return to the parking lot along the same route. Terrain is moderately sloping. Trail is well-marked but rocky in places; level of difficulty is considered “moderate.” Overall walk is about 1.5 to 2 miles out and same distance back.

Sponsored by the PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation.

Note: Campsites have picnic tables and most are usually not occupied at this time of year. People-friendly leashed pets are allowed; owner must clean up after their pets. This is not a wheelchair and stroller friendly walk. People-friendly leashed pets are allowed; the owner must clean up after their pets.

Walk in PennWalk in Penn’s Woods is a collaboration of of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners.  It was envisioned as a day for people across Pennsylvania to visit and learn about the forests that enhance our well-being. Forests are always working for us, providing recreation, wildlife habitat, beauty, improved water quality, clean air, wood products, carbon storage, and more.

As you hike, walk and enjoy this trail, we ask you to please maintain social distancing, step off-trail to let others pass and continue to follow leave-no-trace principles.

Click here to learn more about the Walk in Penn’s Woods and other hikes around the state.

2020 PANJ Chapter_Fall Webinar


We may not be able to gather in person but we can still come together to learn and grow as a community. Join us for our Fall Webinar for two great presentations on forest soils, an update on state of restoration, and a special recognition of volunteer Jim Walizer.

When: Saturday, November 14th

Time: 11:30 am to 2:00 pm

Where: Zoom Webinar

To join the webinar online use this link:

Or dial in using either of these phone numbers: (646) 876 9923 or  (301) 715 8592

Webinar ID: 967 6181 5405

Featured  Speakers

Laurel Fischer Mueller

President, Certified Professional Soil Scientist and Soil Classifier (CPSS/CPSC), Geomorphologist, SEO

Forest Soil 101 — a refresher and intro into understanding soils in the woods.

Dr. Jenise M. Bauman

Associate Professor Huxley on the Peninsulas, Western Washington University

An 11-year assessment of hybrid chestnut growth, blight incidence (Cryphonectria parasitica), and tree recruitment under various soil restoration treatments