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Posts categorized Bear Creek Preserve.

Crossings

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager

Josh crossing a very deep section of creek.

Josh Saltmer (Bear Creek’s Preserve Manager) and I have been working in the Poconos monitoring conservation easements.   A lot of these easements were established to protect important water resources as well as unique habitats.  With all the rain we received in March and April we have been trying to avoid wet feet.  We have been crossing creeks on logs,  hummock jumping and making treks looking for shallow crossings.

This photo was taken several years ago, when the deck was much better. We still cross it to access a wonderful piece of protected property.

It has been a few years since I monitored these easements and it is good to be back on them again.  Like many of our easements, they protect a slice of history:  habitats that were once common in their region, but are being lost to development.  I often remark that when Mariton’s founders protected this property it was just like every other chunk of abandoned farmland in the township.  Fifty years later, most of those parcels are growing houses, and Mariton is unique.  The Pocono region has experienced exponential “growth”.  It amazes me how much more traffic we have to negotiate since I last monitored these easements.  So, it is good to thank the people with foresight who protect these important pieces of our heritage.  And it is important to take a moment to think about how to cross the obstacles to protecting more of our natural resources.

 

Mariton: A Bear Creek Field Trip

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

The Mariton Birders are always game to check out new spots.  So, when Joe Vinton told me he was doing a Bird Walk for NLT at Bear Creek, I asked the Birders if they would like to go.  Silly question.  I filled the van with “nature nuts” and we headed north.  Joe Vinton is the Preserve Manager at Bear Creek.  I can’t say enough good things about what Joe, his assistant Tyler, and the many volunteers have done at this preserve.  The trails are wonderful.

The tail end of a Black-throated Blue Warbler

The tail end of a Black-throated Blue Warbler

Almost immediately we were greeted by the song of a Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Since they rarely breed at Mariton, it was wonderful to see them so plentiful in a place they like – and they definitely like Bear Creek.  We got to see lots of them, which was very cool.  (Here is a tip:  if you are camera shy, you can’t complain when the photographer takes a less than complimentary photo.)

This is a more representative photo that Carole took at Mariton.

This is a more representative photo that Carole took at Mariton.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

We also heard a Chestnut-sided Warbler very early in the walk.  I associate this species with brushy areas, but we heard them continuously as we walked through Bear Creek’s forest.  This is an amazingly beautiful warbler.  We saw them several times, even though (like most warblers) they were constantly in motion.  On the ride home, Bob made the comment that we heard Black-throated Blues and Chestnut-sided Warblers singing continuously on our hike.  Amazing.

MEBUS RoseBreastedGrosbeakBearCreek0527-3

We didn’t hear many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks singing, but this one posed for everyone to see.

Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium

When we weren’t birding, we admired the many wildflowers growing along Bear Creek’s trails.  This Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) was stunning.  We also saw Wild Lily of the Valley, Pinksters, Sheep Laurel,  Wild Bleeding Heart, Bunchberry and other great wildflowers in bloom.  Since the habitat is so very different from Mariton and our usual birding spots, these were great finds for our group.

This field trip was important for me, because it reminded me that all the things that I am “used to seeing” at Mariton are still very special, and would be viewed with awe by someone coming from a different region.  Someone once told me that using the word treasure was inappropriate when talking about natural wonders.  They said treasure should be reserved for paintings, sculptures, and great pieces of art.  Sorry, but I don’t buy that.  Bear Creek and the other NLT Preserves are as rich as any museum, and filled with world class treasures.  I am still fascinated (and humbled) by the beauty.

Daytrip Discoveries: Bear Creek Preserve

By Dulcie Flaharty, Vice President of Community Partnerships

Dulcie’s “Daytrip Discoveries” represent her quest to visit all 17 of Natural Lands Trust’s publicly accessible nature preserves within one year–an adventure she hopes will inspire others to do the same! Dulcie was the Executive Director of Montgomery County Lands Trust, which merged with Natural Lands Trust in 2012.

Because of its size and growing trail network (nearly 20 miles have been readied for visitors since the property was acquired by Natural Lands Trust) the 3,412-acre Bear Creek Preserve, in the Pocono Mountains, rose immediately to the top of my list for a daytrip adventure.

Being able to tag along with a group of avid birders for a late-spring walk provided the enticement I needed to venture north on RT #476 (about an hour from the Quakertown toll plaza) to see why birding has gone epidemic among colleagues and friends.

On the trip north, the flyover of a Pileated Woodpecker and a Common Raven set the tone for good birding, according to my trip buddy for the day Debbie Beer, engagement manager for Natural Lands Trust.

The magic of Bear Creek Preserve enveloped us as we pulled off the road and onto the winding, gravel drive. The recently constructed Management Center provided a great trail-head and information resource. Opening the car door, we were greeted by sweet-smelling breezes and a cacophony of bird song.

Debbie and the other birders I was traveling with readied for our walk by sharing information on local winged visitors and residents.

The first great surprise of the day came when I learned that bird watching is more often bird listening. Tackling the use of binoculars and schooling my ears in support of my eyes brought additional senses to the ready.

Checking Birding Book Looking for birds

As our walk continued, I found myself routinely distracted from birding by the abundant wildflowers and darting butterflies and insects. Pink mountain laurel and fly poison plant (Native Americans mixed it with sugar to control insects) could be spotted close by.

Mountain Laurel pink

Fly Poison plant

The new, simple bridge built recently by Preserve Manager Joe Vinton made crossing a small creek less of a challenge. The sound of moving water added another dimension to our multi-sensory hike.

Bear Creek new bridge

A family with young children along for the walk enjoyed helping scout out an American toad and a salamander, which elicited ooooos and aaahhs from the young naturalists.

American Toad back

The geology of Bear Creek Preserve is as fascinating and beautiful as its flora and fauna.

Rock table with mossy coverlet

Ambling back to the Management Center, we had time for a quick visit inside to see the newly completed facility, which is warm and welcoming. I loved the “feather paintings” created by Force of Nature volunteer Paula Fell!

Feather Art

Four of the five senses—smell, sight, touch, and hearing—were engaged during our morning walk at Bear Creek Preserve. As midday had already passed, it was time to satisfy the fifth sense with a picnic at the nearby Francis E. Walter Dam Park. (Many local eateries are closed on Sundays, the day of our visit.) Next visit we might try to schedule a stop at the Bear Creek Café, which looked very quaint and had a nice menu.

Debbie at reservoir picnic

Our three-hour hike yielded 27 bird species for the avid birders in the group. For all others who take pleasure just from the multitude of sensory experience in being outdoors, there were a myriad of other natural delights to keep us smiling.

Want to plan your own visit? Preserve details and highlights can be found here.

 

A visit to Bear Creek

Our Stewardship Staff traveled to Bear Creek Preserve for a retreat this week. The preserve is breathtaking. And huge: after driving and walking parts of the preserve we looked at the map and realized we’d seen only a tiny fraction of it.

Stewardship Retreat

Joe Vinton was a wonderful host and showed off the improved trails he and Natural Lands Trust volunteers have worked on. And we got to see the new management center, an elegantly functional new building with office, bathroom, workshop, and storage space.

Stewardship Retreat

Here’s the Pennsylvania crew of Land and Building Stewardship Staff.

Stewardship Retreat

Posted by Daniel Barringer on October 20, 2013.

 

Shades Creek Restoration Work Party at Bear Creek

Saturday, July 21
9:00 AM
Bear Creek Preserve, Buck Township, PA

Bear Creek, Shades Creek, and Stony Run, all designated as “High Quality, Cold Water Fisheries,” flow through Bear Creek preserve. Join us to help pick up trash around Shades Creek and help make the creek safer for people and wildlife.

This event is free and open to the public. To register, please contact Preserve Manager Joe Vinton at or (570) 647-9175. Meet at Bear Creek Preserve’s driveway and parking area along Rt. 115. From the Village of Bear Creek at White Haven Rd and Rt. 115 intersection: travel 2.8 miles South along Rt. 115. Parking is on the right. From Blakeslee: travel 8.5 miles North along Rt 115. Parking is on the left (.5 miles North of Brother Shim’s Bar).

Trail Construction Work Party at Bear Creek Preserve

Saturday, June 16
9:00 AM
Bear Creek Preserve, Buck Township, PA

Newly opened to the public, the 3,412-acre Bear Creek Preserve is a vast expanse of forests and steep stream valleys in the Pocono Plateau’s Lehigh River Watershed. Help us create more opportunities for preserve exploration as we add the preserve’s existing 5-mile trail system.

This event is free and open to the public. To register, please contact Preserve Manager Joe Vinton at or (570) 647-9175. Meet at Bear Creek Preserve’s driveway and parking area along Rt. 115. From the Village of Bear Creek at White Haven Rd and Rt. 115 intersection: travel 2.8 miles South along Rt. 115. Parking is on the right. From Blakeslee: travel 8.5 miles North along Rt 115. Parking is on the left (.5 miles North of Brother Shim’s Bar).

Trail Construction Work Party at Bear Creek Preserve

Saturday, May 12
9:00 AM
Bear Creek Preserve, Buck Township, PA

Newly opened to the public, the 3,412-acre Bear Creek Preserve is a vast expanse of forests and steep stream valleys in the Pocono Plateau’s Lehigh River Watershed. Help us create more opportunities for preserve exploration as we add the preserve’s existing 5-mile trail system.

This event is free and open to the public. To register, please contact Preserve Manager Joe Vinton at or (570) 647-9175. Meet at Bear Creek Preserve’s driveway and parking area along Rt. 115. From the Village of Bear Creek at White Haven Rd and Rt. 115 intersection: travel 2.8 miles South along Rt. 115. Parking is on the right. From Blakeslee: travel 8.5 miles North along Rt 115. Parking is on the left (.5 miles North of Brother Shim’s Bar).

Bear Creek Preserve Meet and Greet

Sunday, April 22
11:00 AM
Bear Creek Preserve, Buck Township, PA

Get to know Preserve Manager Joe Vinton, Bear Creek Preserve, and fellow conservationists. We will hike Bear Creek’s new trail and explore volunteer opportunities along the way. You will also learn about Natural Lands Trust’s exciting plans for Bear Creek Preserve and how YOU can get involved.

This event is free and open to the public. To register, please contact Preserve Manager Joe Vinton at or (570) 647-9175. Meet at Bear Creek Preserve’s driveway and parking area along Rt. 115. From the Village of Bear Creek at White Haven Rd and Rt. 115 intersection: travel 2.8 miles South along Rt. 115. Parking is on the right. From Blakeslee: travel 8.5 miles North along Rt 115. Parking is on the left (.5 miles North of Brother Shim’s Bar).

Bear Creek Preserve

47 Rabbit Run Lane
Bear Creek Twp, PA 18702
Joshua Saltmer, Preserve Manager
570-647-9175

Parking:

The main entrance of the Preserve is located along Rt 115 at Rabbit Run Lane, 2.8 miles south of Bear Creek Village and 8.5 miles north of Blakeslee. Additional parking is located at pull offs along White Haven Road and Rt. 115 in Buck Township, .5 miles north of Buck River Road.

Bear Creek Preserve is a vast expanse of forests and steep stream valleys in the Lehigh River Watershed. The 3,565-acre preserve—larger than many state parks—provides critical habitat for a myriad of wildlife species, including black bear, coyote, and many migratory songbirds. Bear Creek Preserve is part of a larger landscape of protected lands— including state parks, forests, and gamelands—that spans more than 150,000 acres.

Learn more about Bear Creek Preserve on our Blog!

Highlights

trails More than 31 miles of unpaved trails ranging from easy to moderate to difficult; more trails will be completed in the coming months (Note: rattlesnake habitat; please exercise caution and do not hike alone)
Birds Birds include Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Hermit Thrush, Kestrel, and Bald Eagle.
Animals Animals include American mink, eastern coyote, fisher cat, bobcat, and black bear
Woodlands Increasingly rare interior forest (defined as an area at least 300 feet from any edge, such as a road, lawn, or meadow)
Wetlands and streams Bear Creek, Shades Creek, and Stony Run, all designated as “High Quality, Cold Water Fisheries,” flow through the preserve

Amenities

Trail Map

Management Center with meeting space and restrooms (open by chance or by appointment)

Interpretive trail signs

Bear Creek Bird Walk

Sunday, May 15, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary
240 Sunnyside Road
Easton, PA 18042

We will meet at Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary and carpool to Bear Creek Preserve in Luzerne County, PA. This preserve, owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust, is located in the Pocono Plateau. It is an excellent area to bird as well as look at wild flowers and other wildlife. Please bring binoculars and wear sturdy, waterproof boots.

Walks are free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Contact Tim Burris at  or 610- 258-6574.

Note: walks may be cancelled due to inclement weather or low attendance.

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