385 acres of prime Pocono wildlife habitat protected

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Bald Mountain Preserve to be managed by Natural Lands Trust

Bald Mountain Preserve in Bear Creek Township will eventually be open to visitors for passive recreation. Photo courtesy of Joe Vinton

Bald Mountain Preserve in Bear Creek Township will eventually be open to visitors for passive recreation. Photo courtesy of Joe Vinton

A boon for area Pocono visitors:  A 385-acre property now known as Bald Mountain, located in the Pocono Plateau, will remain an unspoiled mecca for migratory songbirds, black bears, and bald eagles, thanks to the joint efforts of Natural Lands Trust and North Branch Land Trust (NBLT).

“Natural Lands Trust is thrilled to be able to expand our regional network of nature preserves and to work in partnership with NBLT to do so,” Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust, said in a news release. “Since we established our first preserve in the late 1950s, we have been committed to owning land because it is simply the best way to protect an important landscape and ensure it will be well cared for in the future.”

Travelers who look southeast when driving south on the cross-valley expressway in Wilkes-Barre will see the windmills atop Bald Mountain in Bear Creek Township. The rugged terrain is largely forested; dominant species include red oak, white oak, and red maple. Two state-designated “high quality” streams flow through the property, bordered by native hemlocks and aspens, the release said.

The property is unique in that it is a transition property between two distinctly different geophysical regions. To the northwest is the Anthracite Valley section of the Valley and Ridge Province and to southeast is Glaciated Pocono Plateau section of the Appalachian Plateau. The property also straddles two massive watersheds. All water to the northwest of the property flows to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, and all the water to the southeast flows to the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay, the release said.

Early on, NBLT had identified the property as a conservation priority and has been working closely with the landowners and others for several years to find a way to acquire and protect it. Once funding sources were identified, they approached Natural Lands Trust about the possibility of owning and managing the land, which is located a short distance from Natural Lands Trust’s 3,412-acre Bear Creek Preserve, the release said.

“The entire staff and board of directors of NBLT are grateful to have been part of this wonderful conservation project,”  said Paul Lumia, executive director of NBLT. “This conservation effort is a shining example local, regional, and state partners working together to protect those special and scenic natural landscapes that sustain us. Another important piece of northeastern Pennsylvania’s natural heritage has been conserved.”

Like many of Natural Lands Trust’s other nature preserves throughout the region, Bald Mountain Preserve eventually will be open —free-of-charge — to visitors for passive recreation. Since its founding in 1953, Natural Lands Trust has protected more than 100,000 acres of land, including 42 nature preserves that it owns and manages in 13 counties. Funders for this project included the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources—Community Partnership Program and former landowner Mark Mack, the release said.

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