Pennsylvania Army National Guard

The Pennsylvania Army National Guard maintains a 17,000-acre training facility at Fort Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg. Staff conservationists shape a landscape for military training while simultaneously making and renewing thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, including native grasslands and young forest. Joseph Hovis, head of the base’s Wildlife Section, says, “Each year we apply fire to 3,000 to 5,000 acres and harvest timber on another 200 to 300 acres. Those activities yield the kind of periodic disturbances that set back vegetative growth and give rise to patches of young forest and grassland that move around on the landscape.” At the Gap, such ephemeral habitats support a broad range of young forest wildlife. “Fort Indiantown Gap is one of the most biodiverse places I’ve ever been,” reports Forest Program Manager Shannon Henry, “and that’s because we proactively manage it."