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Pennsylvania

Cherry Valley


Cherry Creek meanders through woodlands and pastures, carving a path through a rural landscape before emptying into the Delaware River. Along the way, the creek hugs the Kittatinny Ridge, a globally important flyway for birds of prey, including bald eagles and broad-wing hawks. During autumn, visitors hike the Appalachian Trail to Wolf Rocks or another scenic vista to witness the raptors and numerous neo-tropical migratory birds during their annual migration. Cherry Valley is home to 85 rare species, including the federally threatened bog turtle, and federally endangered northeastern bulrush and dwarf wedge mussel.

The Nature Conservancy has worked for decades to protect Cherry Valley’s clean water and critical natural resources. A large part of this work has focused on efforts to establish a national wildlife refuge at Cherry Valley. With a consortium of local organizations and landowners organized by the Friends of Cherry Valley, the Conservancy succeeded in helping this vision become a reality in late 2008, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the refuge — establishing a boundary that encompasses 20,466 acres in Monroe and Northampton counties in the Pocono Mountains. Within this boundary, the Service may now acquire, from willing sellers, lands to be included in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

According to the refuge plan, the Service may purchase the lands outright or may enter into conservation easements, which protect the land from future development but allow the owners to continue to use the land. The first protection project within the refuge boundaries could be approved as early as 2010, as property owners are showing strong interest and federal dollars may become available soon: The U.S. Congress is considering a $1 million appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire land for the refuge, and there appear to be willing sellers — by late 2009 more than 100 of the 750 landowners in Cherry Valley expressed interest in participating.
 

Threats
Residential development and non-native, invasive plants, including purple loosestrife and phragmites.

Milestones

  • Protected several properties totaling over 2,000 acres through purchase or conservation easements.
  • Completed a biological inventory of plants and animals in 2008.
  • Helped to create the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, established in December 2008. 

Actions

  • Meeting with area landowners to advise them on protection options.
  • Working to increase federal funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
  • Planning and prioritizing joint protection opportunities with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on planning and habitat management.
  • Supporting local efforts to gain passage of the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge study.
  • Pursuing additional land acquisition opportunities to expand the project and establish a wildlife corridor that links the area to nearby protected areas.

Partners
Friends of Cherry Valley, Monroe County Conservation District, Monroe County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, Pocono Heritage Land Trust, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Brodhead Watershed Association, local municipalities.

Contact
The Nature Conservancy
P.O. Box 55 Long Pond Road
Long Pond, Pennsylvania 18334
(570) 643-7922 (phone)
(570) 643-7925 (fax)

Photos

Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge Slideshow

In the heart of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge is more than 20,000 acres of farmland and natural areas preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Size
30,000 acres

Location
Monroe and Northampton counties

Take a scenic drive from the Delaware Water Gap to Saylorsburg. Hike to Wolf Rocks, a renowned segment of the Appalachian Trail. Pursue additional recreational pastimes including golfing, horseback riding, hunting and fishing.
 

What You’ll See
Hillside seeps and limestone fens. Bat hibernaculum. Raptors, including bald eagles, osprey and broad-wing hawks. Breeding population of cerulean warblers and other neo-tropical migratory birds. Federally threatened bog turtle, and federally endangered Northeastern bulrush and dwarf wedge mussel. State endangered grass-of-Parnassus. Spreading globeflower. American eel.

Directions

Properties in Cherry Valley are not open to the public due to the fragile nature of the habitat. Contact the Conservancy’s office in Long Pond to inquire about visiting the area.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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