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Pennsylvania

Minsi Lake/Tott’s Gap Corridor


Sandwiched between the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Northampton County’s park system, the Greater Minsi Lake Corridor represents a collection of forestlands and other natural areas that if preserved, would link and protect valuable wildlife habitat spanning several thousands of acres. The corridor hugs part of the Kittatinny Ridge, and lies in close proximity to the Appalachian Trail and Delaware River. Well-known for its recreational opportunities, this location also contains important ecological features, including one of the largest collections of vernal pools in Pennsylvania.

The hundreds of vernal pools located throughout the Minsi Lake Corridor come to life during the spring, when melting snow and frequent rains fill the seasonal ponds and summon numerous species that spend part of their life cycle in these temporary wetlands. By summer, some of these “microhabitats” dry up, and can go unnoticed by casual observers and even dedicated conservationists. However their significance – no matter the season – is not lost on the species supported by them, including numerous amphibians such as marbled and spotted salamanders.

Throughout the region, scattered forests of tulip poplar, red maple, sweet birch, red and white oak, and shagbark hickory directly benefit the vernal pools. The dense woodlands shade the water, reduce evaporation and control runoff. They also provide ideal habitat for forest interior-breeding birds such as the Scarlet tanager. Since the removal of trees jeopardizes the pools, The Nature Conservancy continues to acquire land and conservation easements throughout the Minsi Lake Corridor to establish a greenway of natural areas that will ensure these and other fragile habitats remain undisturbed into the future.

Size
The corridor spans about 2,000 acres between Minsi Lake County Park and the Appalachian rail and the top of Kittatinny Ridge.

Location
Northampton County, 3 miles northwest of the town of Mt. Bethel

Threats
Past logging and grazing. Invasive vegetation.

Action
Acquiring lands and conservation easements to establish the Greater Minsi Lake Corridor and connect it with existing protected areas, including the Delaware Gap National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service, and Northampton County’s Minsi Lake Wilderness Area.

Milestones
The Nature Conservancy acquired 115 acres of high-quality vernal pool habitat in 2001, and an additional 130 acres in 2006. Northampton County acquired more than 500 acres in 2003 and 2004.

Partners
Northampton County, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Upper Mount Bethel Township, National Park Service, William Penn Foundation, Wildlands Conservancy, local communities

What You’ll See/At Stake
Vernal pools. A variety of amphibians and reptiles, including spotted and marbled salamanders, and an array of turtles and snakes. Scarlet tanagers and other forest interior-breeding birds.

Hike, fish or go boating at the Minsi Lake Wilderness Area. Enjoy scenic views at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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

Directions

Totts Gap Preserve: From Pennsylvania Route 33, take the Wind Gap exit. Follow Pennsylvania Route 512 East, towards Mount Bethel, through Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, Bangor and East Bangor. Turn left at the light onto Port Richmond Road. Go about 2.5 miles, and turn left at the wooden post that says “Institute Drive.” Look for yellow preserve signs on the left.

Discussion

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