Lackawanna State Forest
Lackawanna State Forest. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr
At A Glance
“This property had been slated for development, but many people in the area wanted to see it conserved.” — Todd McNew, Pennsylvania director of The Conservation Fund.
In northeast Pennsylvania, Lackawanna State Forest is a beautiful natural area that shelters wildlife and offers outdoor enthusiasts a colorful place to hike, hunt, fish and paddle. The forest also provides the natural system that cleans the water supply for the surrounding communities.
Yet nearly 3,000 acres around the forest was slated for development. That’s when we started working with public and private partners to acquire a 2,650-acre tract of land for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, expanding the forest to more than 30,000 acres. “This property had been slated for development, but many people in the area wanted to see it conserved,” said Todd McNew, Pennsylvania director of The Conservation Fund.
Creating A Greater Whole: Connecting State Forest Lands
Helping form what environmentalists have labeled the Lehigh River Conservation Corridor, the newly acquired property provides prime upland forest, several miles of waterways, significant wetland acreage and ideal habitat for black bear, bobcat, river otter, coyote, snowshoe hares and white-tailed deer. It contains several miles of frontage on the Lehigh River, Choke Creek, Trout Creek and Kendall Run. The 40-foot Choke Creek Falls is a popular landmark known for its extraordinary beauty. The area will be opened to hunters, hikers and all other state forest recreational enthusiasts.
According to Cindy Dunn, Deputy Secretary of DCNR, “this acquisition carries tremendous ‘connectivity’ value by linking more than 70,000 acres of state forest, state game lands and non-profit conservation lands.”
This is not the first addition to the state forest by the Fund. Previously, we helped preserve 4,000 acres and four miles of river frontage along the Lehigh River, fulfilling a high priority of the Pennsylvania DCNR’s Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape effort. Other partners included Monroe County, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlands Conservancy, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Thornhurst Township in Lackawanna County.