Kane Woods Nature Area
In July 2008, the Scott Conservancy dedicated two miles of trails in the Kane Woods Nature Area. Kane Woods is not a township park or a county park. It is private land owned by the Conservancy. The Kane Woods Nature Area is ideal for hiking and bird watching. You may catch a glimpse of the deer, squirrel, fox and turkey, which abound in the forest. Or just sit on one of our benches and enjoy the respite from your busy modern life.
This four-minute video will give you a good overview of Kane Woods.
Kane Woods Trails
The trails are marked with color-coded signs:
- White – Tom the Tinker Trail
- Red – Liberty Trail
- Yellow – Whiskey Boys Trail
- Green – Neville’s Trail
- Blue – Catfish Path
We also have a Meadow Walk linking Neville’s Trail with the Liberty Trail.
The trails can be accessed from four trailheads:
- Scrubgrass Run Trailhead parking lot
1459 Scrubgrass Road, Scott Township, 15106
From here you can get on Tom the Tinker Trail and the Whiskey Boys Trail.
- Whiskey Point Trailhead parking lot
1461 Scrubgrass Road, Scott Township, 15106
Park in the gravel lot, but please don’t block the gate, which must stay clear for emergency vehicles. Beyond the gate we have a shelter and picnic tables, and a large parking lot for special events. Whiskey Point offers access to the Whiskey Boys Trail and Catfish Path.
- The Jewish Community Center parking lot
345 Kane Blvd. 345 Kane Blvd., 15243
The trail system can be accessed via the steps leading to Neville’s Trail. For security reasons, visitors parking in the lot during the JCC’s hours of operation should stop at the front desk and let them know their cars are parked on the lot.
- Steps on Kane Boulevard opposite Hughes Street
The steps take you to the loop portion of the Catfish Path
Planning a hike? View the clearly marked trails on the trail map below, or click to download it to your computer or device. You can also pick one up at the Whiskey Point or Scrubgrass trailheads.
- The trails in Kane Woods are open from dawn to dusk.
- Dogs are welcome here. They don’t have to be on a leash, but they must be under your control at all times. Please don’t bring more than two dogs per person.
- Bicycles are not allowed on the trails.
- Hunting is not allowed in Kane Woods.
- Please be a good steward of our land: Stay on the trails, remove any animal waste, and be kind to the wildlife.
Kane Woods and the Whiskey Rebellion
The names of several trails in Kane Woods recall people and events associated with the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791-1794.
Much of the land we now call Kane Woods was once owned by General John Neville, who served at General George Washington’s side during the Revolutionary War. They were close personal friends, both having grown up in Fairfax County, Virginia. Neville was commandant of Fort Pitt when the war started, and later fought at both Valley Forge and the Battle of Yorktown.
After the war, General Neville resided at his mansion, Bower Hill, on what is now Kane Boulevard. When Congress passed a federal excise tax on whiskey in 1791, Neville was appointed to collect the revenues. Local farmers, however, violently opposed the new tax. Whiskey distilled by the farmers and sold throughout the country and even as far away as New Orleans was their main source of income. With barely enough cash to make ends meet, the farmers believed the tax would ruin them. They organized protests against the tax, some of which turned violent.
Anonymous notes and newspaper articles signed by “Tom the Tinker” threatened those who complied with the whiskey tax. Those who failed to heed the warnings might have their barns burned or their stills destroyed.
The hostilities culminated in fighting that broke out on July 16 and 17, 1794, between local farmers, federal troops, and supporters of General Neville. Local farmers known as the Whiskey Boys burned down Neville’s Bower Hill mansion and other buildings on the estate.
An angry President Washington responded by dispatching 13,000 troops, a force larger than any he commanded during the Revolutionary War, to put down what became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. As the federal forces marched on Western Pennsylvania, the rebellion collapsed.
The Whiskey Rebellion is important in U.S. history because it provided the first real test of the new American Constitution.
In 1996, the Conservancy, with the support of the Scott Township Commissioners, received approval from the Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission to erect a state historical marker on Kane Boulevard at the site of General Neville’s Bower Hill mansion.
Yearly re-enactments of the battle have been taking place each summer in the Kane Woods since the trail’s grand opening in 2008.
The Mother Tree of Kane Woods
One part of the Kane Woods Nature Area that has captured the interest of Conservancy board member Don McGuirk is the age of an enormous red oak that he calls the “Mother Tree.” In 2010, Don and officials from the state forestry department took a boring from the tree. Counting the tree rings determined that the tree is 200 to 250 years old.
When the tree sprouted around 1760, the United States didn’t even exist. The English and their colonial allies were still fighting the French and Indian War. James Watt was working on the prototype for the steam engine, and most people traveled by foot or on horseback.
The tree was still in its youth during the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.