Wellsboro, PA – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bureau of Forestry and other officials in the celebration of a 132-acre addition to Tioga State Forest in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Purchased late last year by the conservancy, the acreage known as the Cavanaugh Access Tract is located about halfway along the Pine Creek Rail Trail, stretching 62 miles from Wellsboro Junction, Tioga County, to Jersey Shore, Lycoming County. The tract affords expanded creek and trail access to anglers, hikers and bikers.
“The Cavanaugh Tract’s acquisition is a shining example of how conservancies complement the goals and work of DCNR,” Dunn said. “After learning this acreage was headed toward auction, this land promptly was purchased by the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and soon will become part of the Tioga State Forest.
“Rich in farming and railroad history, the acreage is comprised of woodlands, reverting farmland, and wetlands, and will offer trail-users a welcoming place to rest. Wildlife watchers and birders, especially, are likely to return to this area again and again.”
The secretary pointed to ongoing efforts by Tiadaghton Audubon Society members to gauge birdlife on the property. During a recent day-long club event, they counted 47 species of birds.
The Cavanaugh Access area is located north of Wellsboro, off Route 287 and along Marsh Creek Road. Its proximity to Marsh Creek, a Pine Creek tributary, affords watershed protection to the creek as well as Pine Creek.
“I think this project is the perfect example of what a regional land trust and its members can do,” said Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy Director Stephen Schopfer “We can act quickly when there’s an opportunity that meets a community need. Then we can work with the Bureau of Forestry and other partners to keep the project moving ahead.”
Dunn noted the tract’s location -- roughly midway between Pine Creek Trail’s Stokesdale and Ansonia access areas -- enhances its recreational value. A few benches will be added to the property to allow bikers, hikers and others a place to rest. DCNR will eventually create a walking trail to allow people to see more of the wetlands, and more wildlife.
Also, a split-rail fence was installed to help control access on and off the Pine Creek Trail; picnic tables have been added; and path grading has been undertaken.
Tioga State Forest derives its name from the Seneca phrase "meeting of two rivers." It covers 161,890 acres in Bradford and Tioga counties and is home to Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania." Tioga features awe-inspiring views and miles of clean, cool streams, like Cedar Run and Babbs Creek and is one of eight state forests located in the PA Wilds region.
For more information on Tioga and Pennsylvania’s other state forests, visit www.dcnr.pa.gov and select “Forestry.”