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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 back country recreational opportunities.

Kettle Creek Gorge Natural Area

This secluded mountain valley is only accessible on foot. It is located in the southern portion of the Loyalsock State Forest. This 774-acre tract was set aside in 1970 to permit scientific observation of natural systems, protect examples of typical or unique flora and fauna communities, and preserve areas of outstanding natural beauty. The entire area will remain undeveloped for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

Tamarack Run Natural Area

This unique natural area is located in the northeast portion of the Loyalsock State Forest and is comprised of two hundred and thirty-four acres near Sones Pond. Named for the tamarack tree, this boreal conifer wetland provides protection for the plants, amphibians, and reptiles that call this natural area home.

Devil’s Elbow Natural Area

This four hundred and four acre gem is located at the headwaters of the North Branch of Rock Run in Eastern Lycoming County. It is noted for its many emergent, shrub, and forested wetlands and is home to wetland carnivorous plants such as sundew and pitcher plant.

McIntyre Wild Area

This spectacular wild area is some seven thousand five-hundred acres in sizes and holds the complete watersheds of four small streams that cascade in numerous waterfalls. It is located north and east of Ralston off of Route 14. McIntyre was also the site of a 19th century mining town and contains the ruins of its buildings and facilities. The Band Rock Vista provides a spectacular view of the Lycoming Creek Valley.

Kettle Creek Wild Area

This two thousand six-hundred acre wild area buffers the Kettle Creek Gorge Natural Area and is located in the southern portion of the Loyalsock State Forest. It is home to an exceptional wilderness trout stream. Primitive backpack camping is permitted within the wild area.