A 15-acre glacial kettlehole pond surrounded by a sphagnum bog, Lehigh Pond is one of only a few unpolluted glacial lakes left in Pennsylvania. It is located on State Game Lands (SGL) 312 at the headwaters of the Lehigh River and Tobyhanna Creek.
Reminiscent of a far-north woods environment, the cold sphagnum bog surrounding the pond supports five rare-to-Pennsylvania plants, including the herbaceous perennial many-fruited sedge and Labrador tea. The latter, short, upright evergreen shrub, ranges into Greenland, Labrador and Alaska and reaches its southern limit in northern Pennsylvania.
Another northern bog plant species is tamarack. Also known as American larch and hackmatack, it is the only native conifer north of Maryland that sheds its leaves. At the southern edge of its range, which includes Pennsylvania, tamarack, like the black spruce, is found almost exclusively in cold swamps and sphagnum bogs.
Both the carnivorous pitcher plant and sundew grow in the surrounding bog amid sheep laurel, blueberry and cranberry. Birds such as ospreys, great blue herons, Virginia rails, black and wood ducks, common yellowthroats, least flycatchers, white –throated sparrows and tree swallows are attracted to the shrubby wetland area. Neotropical migrants such as ovenbirds, red-eyed vireos, black-throated blue warblers, scarlet tanagers, and rose breasted grosbeaks prefer the surrounding forest of eastern hemlock, rhododendron, red maple, yellow birch and American beech. Mammals that frequent the area include Black bears, beavers, muskrats, river otters, minks, white-tailed deer and snowshoe hares.
The entire SGL312 is a stopover point for black ducks migrating between Canada and Atlantic coast estuaries and is one of 34 corridors highlighted in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
The 3,912-acre property was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and Wildlands Conservancy for the Pennsylvania Commission, with assistance from Ducks Unlimited. Partial funding was also provided by the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
From Interstate 80 or 84: Drive to Interstate 380. Exit onto PA 507. Drive through the town of Gouldsboro. Less than a mile out of town you will see an electrical substation on your right. After passing it, look for Game Commission signs on both sides of the road. Continue about one mile past the substation and veer off on a small road to your left. Cross the Lehigh River (a little stream at this point). Drive a few hundred yards beyond the stream and you’ll see a dirt drive on the left with Game Commission signs. Turn in there and park. Take the path to your left.