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Pennsylvania

Long Pond


Nestled along the southern escarpment of the Pocono plateau, Long Pond embodies the region’s boreal heritage, harboring species tolerant to cooler temperatures reminiscent of its glacial past. Representing the only natural community of its kind in the world, the mesic till barrens at Long Pond are interspersed in a vast landscape of swamps, bogs, marshes and shallow ponds surrounded by red spruce, balsam fir and eastern hemlock — woodlands more characteristic of Canada’s northern climate.

Scattered across the landscape, numerous bushes and shrubs spark interest throughout the year and attract a variety of birds, making Long Pond one of the Audubon Society’s “Important Bird Areas of Pennsylvania.” Rhododendron, mountain laurel, and highbush blueberry and huckleberry bushes provide a perfect habitat for songbirds migrating from winter homes in Latin America and the Caribbean. The area also hosts American Bittern and Northern Harrier – bird species not commonly observed in other parts of the region. These moor-like heath lands also boast Rhodora — a rare, pink-flowered, wild azalea that attracts photographers from around the world and makes Long Pond one of the most important moth and butterfly habitats in the state.

Learn more about the plants, trees and wildlife of Long Pond by joining one of our monthly guided walks. Visit our events page for dates and details.

For more than a half-century, the suppression of brush fires in this rapidly developing landscape has jeopardized much of what makes it unique. Without this natural disturbance, Long Pond’s low-lying foliage may eventually grow to resemble the surrounding forest — diminishing the area’s ecological diversity and distinction as the location harboring a greater concentration of rare terrestrial species than any other place in Pennsylvania.

Threats

Development and fire suppression.

Action
Acquiring and managing land cooperatively with local partners, including prescribed fire management. Conducting nature programs.

Milestones
Acquisition of more than 2,000 acres over two decades. Initiation of a prescribed fire program in 2004. Completion of an ecological management plan in 2006. Acquisition of 520 acres in 2008 from Bethlehem Authority, in partnership with Wildlands Conservancy. Continued partnership with the township that has increased conservation and public access to quality outdoor recreation.

Partners
Monroe County, Tunkhannock Township, City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Size
2,615 acres

Location
Monroe County, 20 miles west of the town of Stroudsburg

What You'll See
Fly-poison bulb-borer moth, which is endemic to northeastern Pennsylvania. Migratory songbirds, including Blackburnian warbler, Canada warbler and Eastern wood-pewee. Wild azaleas, including “pinkster,” swamp and the locally abundant rhodora.

Learn more about the plants, trees and wildlife of Long Pond by joining one of our monthly guided walks. Visit our events page for dates and details.

Enjoy prime bird watching from the early spring through fall.

Contact Information

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

Directions

From Interstate 80, take exit 284 (PA Route 115). Turn south on 115 towards Effort. After 3.1 miles, bear left at the Long Pond and Pocono Raceway signs onto Long Pond Road. Proceed on Long Pond Road 3.9 miles to a T-intersection and turn right onto Kuhenbeaker Road. After 1.4 miles, bear left onto Hypsy Gap Road and drive 1.4 miles to a gated entrance on the left. This is the Grass Lake area owned by the Bethlehem Authority. Park near the gate (but do not block access) and walk down the path to observe rhodora, sheep laurel and fly-poison lily. At a fork in the path, turn right and after 200 yards, take a left into the area surrounding Grass Lake.

Continue along Hypsy Gap Road another half-mile to a second pull-off on the left. This area is also owned by the Bethlehem Authority and provides access to Conservancy land. Walk straight up the trail to the first left turn, and follow that through the barren until it reaches Hypsy Gap Road.

Drive back to the intersection with Kuhenbeaker Road and take a short left over a bridge to a dirt road on the right. Park and walk through rhodora barren. Continue on Kuhenbeaker Road 1.9 miles to Route 115. Turn right and drive 6.6 miles back to exit 43 of Interstate 80.

Discussion

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