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SPOT THE PROBLEM. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania’s resources, businesses, and economy. To date, our park does NOT have these pests. Help us stay lanternfly free and stop the spread. Visit the Penn State Extension’s Spotted Lanternfly website to learn how to identify it, report it, and inspect your vehicle or gear when traveling to and from the quarantine zone.


​Varden Conservation Area

A gift from veterinarian Dr. Mead Shaffer, the 444-acre Varden Conservation Area is in Wayne County. This magnanimous gift is in an area that was once a remote section of the state, which is now beginning to feel the pressure of development.

The land will be protected and used for future generations as a respite from daily life. Varden is a place to learn about Pennsylvania’s wonderful natural history. The property is managed by Promised Land State Park, which is in Pike County.

“Environmental education always has been a primary concern of mine. I trust this land will allow present and future generations to observe and study the diverse ecology found in the Varden Conservation Area.” -- Dr. Shaffer

Seasons and Hours

The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Contact the Promised Land State Park office for facility seasons and hours.

Pennsylvania map that shows the location of Varden Conservation Area.


Varden is at the intersection of PA 196 and PA 296, in Wayne County. Tannery Road provides access to the Tannery Tract. Mid Valley Road provides access to the Mid Valley Tract.

Tannery Tract GPS DD: Lat. 41.48758 Long. -75.38254

A circular map that shows the roads near the Varden Conservation Area.

What is a Conservation Area?

This designation is for land donated to DCNR's Bureau of State Parks and managed for the purposes of:

  • Preserving open space
  • Conserving natural resources
  • Providing opportunities for passive, non-motorized, low-density outdoor recreation and environmental education activities

A conservation area is characterized as a large area with few improvements and no through roads. Recreational facilities and development are minimal.

Conservation areas are used for:

  • Low-impact recreation
  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Examples of proper stewardship and resource management

The donation of land can be covered by a restrictive covenant.

What is a Restrictive Covenant?

A restrictive covenant is a condition that is written into a deed, either by the seller or person donating the property, that must be adhered to by the person or organization that assumes possession of the property.

Some of the restrictive covenants placed on the transfer of this property include:

  • The land is intended for use, enjoyment, and education of all citizens of the commonwealth. Environmental, outdoor, and forest resources management education will be emphasized.
  • Only passive recreational activities will be allowed. Horseback riding, biking, and motorized equipment are prohibited, except for the official use equipment and accommodations for disabled people.
  • Acceptable forestry practices will govern resource management. Generally, only dead and downed trees should be harvested, except on forest demonstration areas.

Learn, Experience, Connect

Varden Conservation Area offers a wide variety of environmental education programs.

Through hands-on activities, guided walks, and special events, participants gain appreciation and understanding, as well as develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.

Standards-based environmental education programs are available to school and youth groups. Programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by contacting the environmental education specialist at the Promised Land State Park office.

Programs are offered from April through October. Many programs feature the abundant wildlife and forest management practices that can be seen in the conservation area.

For more detailed information about programs, contact Promised Land State Park.

Access for People with Disabilities

This activity or structure is ADA accessible. If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.

In an Emergency

Call 911 and contact an employee.

Directions to the nearest hospital are posted on bulletin boards.

Nearest Hospital

Wayne Memorial Hospital
601 Park Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

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​Explore Varden Conservation Area

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Varden Conservation Area