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Delaware State Forest Wild and Natural Areas

Pennsylvania’s state forest system includes dozens of special wild and natural areas set aside to protect unique or unusual biologic, geologic, scenic, and historical features; or to showcase outstanding examples of the state’s major forest communities.

Natural areas are “managed” by nature and direct human intervention is limited. They provide places for scenic observation, protect special plant and animal communities, and conserve outstanding examples of natural beauty.

Wild areas are generally extensive tracts managed to protect the forest’s wild character and to provide backcountry recreational opportunities.

Bruce Lake Natural Area

This natural area covers 2,845 acres including two lakes -- Bruce Lake and Egypt Meadow Lake.

Bruce Lake is a glacial formed lake and is completely spring-fed. Virgin stands of pine and hemlock were cut in the late 1800's, leaving the area vulnerable to fires that destroyed the rich humus soil layer.

Egypt Meadow Lake was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935.

Stillwater Natural Area

This natural area provided a sanctuary for Union Army deserters and young men evading conscription during the Civil War. Shacks were built on the islands of the swamp or in the dense growth.

This 1,931-acre tract contains a mix of conifers and hardwoods. About one mile of the Little Bushkill Creek offers “stillwaters” for canoeing.

Pennel Run Natural Area

Scrub oak, gray birch, aspen, and mixed oaks dominate the landscape of the Pennel Run Natural Area. This elevated area covers 936 acres.

A portion of Utts Swamp is located within this natural area. Reptiles and amphibians are protected by special regulations within Pennel Run Natural Area.

Buckhorn Natural Area

A high mountain swamp surrounded by mixed oaks is located within the 535-acre Buckhorn Natural Area.  Reptiles and amphibians are also protected by special regulations within this natural area.

Pine Lake Natural Area

Located in this 67-acre site is a 10-acre glacial bog that exhibits plant zones ranging from open water to tree cover.

Various flora and fauna inhabit this truly fascinating tract.

Little Mud Pond Swamp Natural Area

This 182-acre natural area features a boreal swamp. Various emergent plants grow within the glacial bog, including species normally found at more northern latitudes like black spruce, tamarack, and pitcher plant.

Stairway Wild Area

This 2,882-acre wild area is historically significant as a bluestone quarry dating to the 1840s. It is also known for its wetlands, remoteness, and natural beauty.

Featuring Stairway Lake and a nearby vista overlooking the Delaware River, this area is a quiet getaway for shared-use recreation. Stairway Wild Area borders Buckhorn Natural Area to the northeast.