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Forest Pools Preserve at Kings Gap

The Forest Pools Preserve demonstrates our work to preserve unique habitats, like vernal pools

The Forest Pools Preserve at Kings Gap is a 70-acre natural area adjacent to Kings Gap State Park in Cumberland County. It is part of the South Mountain landscape and serves as a demonstration site for The Nature Conservancy's work to address threats to the unique natural heritage of this area. In particular, our work here has focused on the restoration of vernal pools.

Many species rely on connected habitat between forests and vernal pools to survive. Using science, we have been identifying these vital wildlife corridors and working to safeguard habitat for globally rare salamanders, frogs and other woodland species. Through outreach to local landowners, we have raised awareness about the ecological importance of vernal pools.

Preserving the lands and waters of South Mountain helps to provide clean air and water for residents, and offers recreational opportunities, including hiking, birding, and fishing.

70 acres

Cumberland County, adjacent to Kings Gap State Park

What You'll See
Vernal pool indicator species, including wood frogs; and Jefferson, spotted and marbled salamanders. Other common amphibians, including red-spotted newts, spring peepers, American toad, and Fowler's toad. Fairy shrimp, an unusual crustacean species. Rare plants such as the pink lady's slipper.

The Nature Conservancy purchased the Forest Pools Preserve in January 2007. In summer of 2010, The Nature Conservancy hosted a wetlands restoration workshop, during which participants helped to restore vernal pools on the site using a number of different techniques. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the project. Kiosks posted at the site explain which technique was used to restore which pool.

Visitors can hike the trails on the property, and take a self-guided tour of the vernal pool restoration sites. Visitors are not permitted to camp, or bring motorized vehicles, bicycles or horses onto the property. Please clean up after pets and remember to carry out all trash as there are no receptacles on site.

Learn more about vernal pools and the restoration project by visiting our vernal pools page. Scroll down to read about how to take a self-guided tour.


The preserve is located on Kings Gap Road in Carlisle, PA. From Interstate 81, take exit #37. At the exit, travel south on Route 233 for about 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Pine Road and continue 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Kings Gap Road. Turn left into the Pine Plantation parking lot to park. The entrance to the Forest Pools Preserve is across the road from the parking lot.


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

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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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