Regal Fritillary Habitat at Fort Indiantown Gap
|Regal Fritillary Habitat at Fort Indiantown Gap|
You have probably heard of our famous "butterfly", and now is your chance to see it up close and personal. The public is invited to tour Regal Fritillary habitat in an area normally closed to the public and learn how we balance the conservation efforts for this species of concern with military training.
2013 Tour Dates
July 5 (Friday)
July 6 (Saturday)
July 11 (Thursday)
July 12 (Friday)
Tours start at 10 AM, attendees should arrive a half hour early to attend a required safety briefing and fill out the necessary paperwork to participate.
Attendees should meet at the Fort Indiantown Recreation Center Bldg. 13-190 (intersection of Asher Miner Road, Clement Avenue and Route 443 - GPS coordinates in decimal degrees: North 40.431, West 76.591)
|DMVA - Regal Fritillary Butterfly |
DoD Legacy Program - Restoration of Eastern Native Grasslands And The Repatriation Of The Regal Fritillary Butterfly
|DOD Legacy Program|
|2013 Press Release|
|Fort Indiantown Gap to Offer Free Guided Tours of Rare Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat |
17,000-acre Military Post Features Diverse, Unique Ecosystems
Harrisburg - Visitors are invited to see the only population of rare Regal Fritillary butterflies in Pennsylvania on four days in July at Fort Indiantown Gap, near Annville, Lebanon County.
Free guided tours will begin at 10 a.m. on July 5, 6, 11, and 12. Those wishing to attend should arrive at least 30 minutes early to fill out necessary paperwork, attend a mandatory safety and orientation briefing, and receive driving instructions. Tours will last approximately three hours, but attendees can leave earlier if needed.
The tours, which have been offered for more than 10 years, allow the public to see this rare butterfly and its associated habitat on military training ranges, as well as many other natural spectacles on the 17,000-acre military post, which serves as the Pennsylvania National Guard's headquarters.
"Fort Indiantown Gap is one of the busiest National Guard training centers in the country," said retired Brig. Gen. Jerry Beck, deputy commander of the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Site. “And although the primary purpose of the installation is the training of soldiers for their combat mission, we also place a very high priority being environmentally friendly and conserving precious land and ecosystems for the future.
"Our guided butterfly tours promise to be an exciting and educational afternoon because our biologists are knowledgeable not only about butterflies, but birds, plants and other insects."
Participants should meet at the Fort Indiantown Gap Recreation Center in Building 13-190, located at the intersection of Asher Miner Road, Clement Avenue and Route 443 (GPS coordinates in decimal degrees: North 40.431, West 76.591).
Visitors are encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars and should wear appropriate clothing and footwear for a nature walk on well-maintained or mowed trails. No reservations are required and no rain dates will be scheduled.
The tours also will include information related to current efforts to restore native grassland habitat across Pennsylvania and current efforts to raise Regal Fritillary caterpillars from eggs in a lab with support from the PA Wild Resource Program and in partnership with Zoo America North American Wildlife Park and Pennsylvania State University. The ultimate goal is repatriating (returning) the Regal Fritillary to areas where they were located in the recent past.
The Regal Fritillary is considered a Pennsylvania responsibility species of immediate conservation concern and is the symbol of the PA Natural Heritage Program. Fort Indiantown Gap is home to 112 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan priority species. It also provides a wide variety of habitats for 36 species of mammals, 143 breeding species of birds, 34 species of reptiles and amphibians, 25 species of fish, 792 species of plants, and many notable species of invertebrates including 85 species of butterflies and 243 species of moths. The installation also features 1,000 acres of scrub oak and pitch pine barrens and 3,000 acres of native grassland habitat - the largest in the state.
Fort Indiantown Gap is the only live-fire, maneuver military training facility in Pennsylvania. It balances one of the region's most ecologically diverse areas with a military mission that annually supports 19,000 Pennsylvania National Guard personnel and more than 130,000 other states' Guard, military, law enforcement, and civilian personnel each year.
For more information about the tours, visit www.dmva.state.pa.us and click on the Featured Topics tab, email us at RA-DMVA-Wildlife@pa.gov, or call the Wildlife Office at 717-861-2449.