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Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape

The Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape covers two distinct areas in Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and Carbon counties. Its rich and diverse past, ranging from early Colonial settlements along the rivers and valleys to industrial development and outdoor leisure and vacation activities.

This landscape houses abundant natural resources, including the greatest concentration of wetlands in the state and large tracts of public and private forested lands, such as state and national forests and parks and private hunting clubs that were established in the past and still exist today.

At the heart of the Pocono Forest and Waters region is:

  • Conserved land. 54,536 acres of State Parks and 85,239 acres of State Forests
  • Trails. Miles of recreational trails weave their way through the landscape, providing hours or days rewards.
  • Water. There are 4,700 miles of streams and about 74 square miles of lakes and ponds in this region.

The natural lands in this landscape provide a sense of community, clean water, stormwater retention, clean air, and an array of outdoor recreation activities.

Goals of the Poconos Forests and Waters

  • Identify and conserve important landscape areas for acquisition and easements to increase the public and private land base under conservation
  • Facilitate local government decision making to conserve land and revitalize communities
  • Engage the business sector to leverage financial resources and political will to enhance and conserve natural and recreational resources
  • Improve community awareness of and engagement in conservation and restoration of local natural resources
  • Increase cooperation among various state and local governmental agencies and private entities with an interest in conserving natural resources and sustainable development

Areas of Focus

Within this landscape are two somewhat distinct areas:

  • Luzerne, Lackawanna, and western portions of Carbon counties have distinct ecological and cultural characteristics associated with the Northern Anthracite field, including the Susquehanna and Lackawanna “Valley” communities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and Lehigh communities of Hazleton, White Haven and Jim Thorpe.
  • The culture and ecology of Pike, Monroe, and portions of Wayne and eastern Carbon counties have been influenced by the Delaware River, its river communities and its long-standing tourism industry. Gifford Pinchot’s home, Grey Towers, is found in this region. Pinchot was the first chief of the US Forest Service and one of the fathers of the conservation movement in the United States.