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. Nearly 17,000 acres are set aside in the Tioga State Forest for three natural areas and one wild area.
Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area
Known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, this gem is 12,163 acres in size and occupies both sides of Pine Creek from just south of Ansonia to Blackwell, a distance of 18 miles. Pine Creek Gorge was designated in 1968 as a registered National Natural Landmark with a monument located at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Pine Creek Gorge is a rugged area with depths in excess of 1,000 feet from the rim to Pine Creek and widths in excess of a mile in some places. Vistas exist at various locations along the rim including Bradley Wales Picnic Area, Colton Point State Park, Leonard Harrison State Park and Barbour Rock Trail.
Rafting and canoeing are popular on Pine Creek during the spring. For the rest of the year, hiking, fishing and hunting are popular.
Black Ash Swamp Natural Area
This natural area is located within the Asaph Wild Area at the headwaters of the Roberts Branch of Right Asaph Run. The 308-acre tract has within it an old beaver dam that is now grass covered and an excellent example of second growth cherry and maple.
Reynolds Spring Natural Area
This natural area is located northwest of Cedar Run along the Reynolds Spring Road, just north of the Lycoming-Tioga County Line. This 1,302-acre area exhibits a variety of vegetative types. For example there is an open pine swamp at the headwaters of Morris Run and several oak and aspen stands between Morris Run and Little Morris Run. One small stand of northern hardwoods can be toured at the northwest corner of the natural area.
Asaph Wild Area
This wild area is located in Shippen and Clymer Townships, Tioga County. This tract of rugged forest land is located 2.5 miles northwest of the village of Asaph and contains 2,070 acres. Asaph State Forest Picnic Area is located on the southern edge of the tract. Backpack camping is permitted within the wild area.