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Places We Protect

Cherry Valley

Pennsylvania

A wide, leaf strewn wooden foot bridge crosses a narrow creek. Two tall maple trees stand in front of the bridge showing brilliant red fall colors.
Cherry Valley The Nature Conservancy played a key role in establishing the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania. © Gates Rhodes

The Nature Conservancy has played a key role in conserving one of Pennsylvania’s most ecologically diverse landscapes.

Overview

Description

Northeast Pennsylvania’s Cherry Valley encompasses a wide variety of habitats, topography and wildlife. Stretching from Wind Gap to the Delaware Water Gap, Cherry Valley is flanked by the Kittatinny Ridge, part of a 185-mile intact and forested wildlife superhighway and renowned bird migration flyway that attracts more than 20,000 hawks, eagles and falcons each year. This vast and mostly rural landscape also boasts fens and bogs, forests and meadows, farms and fields, and a native brook trout stream that flows into the Delaware River.

TNC owns and manages eight properties and conservation easements in Cherry Valley that collectively represent the landscape’s ecological diversity. At Hartman’s Cave, TNC works with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to monitor bat populations that have suffered significant losses since the arrival of deadly white nose syndrome. In recent years, surveys have shown a modest increase in bat populations, likely due to gating caves, conserving surrounding habitat and the evolution of stronger genetics passed on to new generations of bat species.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Contact TNC’s Long Pond office or the Cherry Valley NWR website for more information.

Highlights

Scenic drives. Hiking, including near the Appalachian Trail. Horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

Explore our work in Pennsylvania

A wooden kiosk welcome visitors to Cherry Valley. The r
Welcome to Cherry Valley TNC owns and manages eight properties and conservation easements in Cherry Valley that collectively represent the landscape’s ecological diversity. © Dick Ludwig

Building a Refuge

TNC's first foray in Cherry Valley involved land acquisitions beginning in the late 1990s. In 2000, TNC began seeking opportunities to work at larger scales within Cherry Valley. This led to exploring, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Monroe County Conservation District, the viability of creating a National Wildl...

TNC's first foray in Cherry Valley involved land acquisitions beginning in the late 1990s. In 2000, TNC began seeking opportunities to work at larger scales within Cherry Valley. This led to exploring, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Monroe County Conservation District, the viability of creating a National Wildlife Refuge.

With local and regional interest high, TNC and the partners joined forces with a then newly formed grassroots group—Friends of Cherry Valley—to mobilize a coalition of businesses, local governments and civic groups around lobbying Congress to authorize a National Wildlife Refuge. In a bipartisan vote, Congress overwhelmingly approved the 22,000-acre Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge Act in 2008.

Today, the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge boasts a mosaic of streams, wetlands, fields and forests that support vulnerable, threatened or endangered species including bog turtle and American eel, and common species such as black bears, bobcats and beavers. Cherry Creek, a state-designated High Quality Stream that harbors native brook trout, meanders through the Refuge before flowing into the Delaware River.

Since the Refuge’s creation, TNC has worked with partners including local townships, Monroe and Northampton Counties, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Conservation Fund, the Pocono Heritage Land Trust and the Wildlands Conservancy to add additional acres to the Refuge. This includes the former Cherry Valley Golf Course and its clubhouse, which now serves as the Refuge headquarters and visitors center. 

With help from partners, the USFWS is also restoring a spectacular array of wildlife habitats such as pollinator meadows, shrublands and additional brook trout habitat. TNC is also working with the United States Forest Service and the USFWS on restoring a critical section of Cherry Creek, which flows through the Refuge, to a more natural mix of wetland, floodplain and in-stream habitat.

In Cherry Valley, partnerships continue to flourish around conservation, leading to the National Wildlife Refuge's expansion as willing sellers and funding opportunities arise. TNC, together with the USFWS and others, will continue to implement creative conservation strategies and habitat restoration projects that aim to safeguard wildlife and support local livelihoods throughout Cherry Valley for years to come.

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The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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