Regal Fritillary Habitat at Fort Indiantown Gap
You have probably heard of our famous “butterfly”…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.
2014 Tour Dates
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)
Click here for Participant Instructions for the Butterfly Tours.
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.
The Regal Fritillary is considered a Pennsylvania invertebrate species of immediate conservation need.
“As one of the busiest National Guard Training Centers in the country, Fort Indiantown Gap is also a leader on the environmental forefront because we place a very high priority on being environmentally aware,” said Lt. Col. Robert Hepner, commander of Fort Indiantown Gap. “These butterfly tours, given by our biologists, provide excellent insight on not only the regal fritillary butterfly but also on the flora, fauna, and wildlife that inhabit beautiful Fort Indiantown Gap and our dedication to safeguard these spectacular natural resources.”
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 of all ages are encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars and should wear appropriate clothing and footwear for a nature walk on well-maintained trails or mowed paths. Feel free to bring insect repellent, sun screen, and other personal comfort items. Drinking water will be provided. 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 ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park and Pennsylvania State University. The ultimate goal is to return the Regal Fritillary to areas where they were located in the recent past.
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 over 4,500 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.
Media contact: Maj. Angela King-Sweigart, 717-861-8829