Open to the Public
The Harry and Mary Goeringer Preserve encompasses 390 acres of dry oak heath forest. That forest shelters Wright Creek, an exceptional stream, along which one can find atypical vernal pools which serve as nurseries for frogs and salamanders. It also hosts a globally rare, Pennsylvania endangered plant species. The Harry and Mary Goeringer Preserve connects with State Game Land 119 and extends the corridor of protected lands from Nescopeck State Park all the way to 6,400 acres protected at Bear Creek. Interior forest birds and wide-ranging wildlife species benefit from the connection of vast expanses of protected lands.
People benefit as well. The Preserve includes an easy-to-hike or bike old railroad bed in its midst. Although the Preserve is bisected by the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the old railroad bed is found on both sides of the highway. A lovely wild lake can be seen at the westernmost point of the railroad bed trail; visitors are asked to remain on the railroad bed trail as the preserve does not include the land around the lake. The property is open to the public for passive outdoor recreation such as hiking, birdwatching and photography.
The Preserve is named for Harry and Mary Goeringer, who established the surrounding community of Penn Lake Park in the late 1930’s. The Goeringers’ daughter, Carolyn Goeringer Basler, sold much of the remaining undeveloped lands to The Nature Conservancy at a bargain sale price.
Residential development and fragmentation of the forest canopy
Acquiring and managing the land for a healthy forest, expansion of protected lands corridor.
This is a new preserve for The Nature Conservancy; it was acquired in 2012.
Penn Lake Park Borough and Penn Lake Park Association
Luzerne County, about four miles east of White Haven.
Hike or bike along the old railroad bed trail. There are other, unmarked trails on the property. Explore Wright Creek, search for salamanders and listen for songbirds. The Black Diamond Trail, a Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor trail that goes from White Haven to Mountaintop, is nearby, as is the Francis Walter Dam, another great place to visit.
The Harry and Mary Goeringer Preserve is located about four miles from the town of White Haven in Luzerne County. The westernmost portion of the Preserve is accessible via Hollenback Road. At this time, there is no parking area on the east side of the Preserve.
From I-80 Eastbound: get off I-80 at Exit 273 (White Haven--940). Turn left at the end of the ramp onto Church Street. Continue on Church Street for .3 miles and turn right onto Berwick Street (following signs for 940). Go .2 miles and take the third left onto Towanda Street. (If you go over the bridge, you’ve missed the turn.) Stay on Towanda Street for almost four miles. (Note that Towanda Street changes names a couple of times … it becomes Chestnut Street/ Middleburg Road/Cross Drive.) Turn left onto Hollenback Road when you see the large quarry on your right. Stay on Hollenback Road through the Penn Lake community. Once the paved road ends, continue on Hollenback for .5 miles. See small pull-off area on your left for parking. Old railroad bed trail begins just down the road from the parking pull-off.
From I-80 Westbound: get off I-80 at Exit 273 (White Haven –940). Turn right at end of ramp onto Church Street. Continue from directions above.