Colorful shrubs surround a rocky landscape..
Barrens Landscape Barrens at the Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve © George C. Gress/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain

Pennsylvania

Moosic Mountain features one of the best examples of heath barrens in the northeastern United States.

Preserve Update September 3, 2020

Over the next few weeks, TNC will be working to draw down the water level behind the dam located on Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain to ensure the safety of visitors and local wildlife.  We do not currently anticipate this will require any trail closures.

Given the increasing frequency of sustained storm events, lowering the water level enough to take pressure off the face of the more than 100-year-old dam was determined to be the best course of action following consultation with professional engineers, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections’ Division of Dam Safety and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.  Moving forward, TNC will be developing a long-term wildlife habitat restoration plan for the dam-site and preserve, and soliciting public feedback when that is ready to be shared.

For more information please contact pa_chapter@tnc.org.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will you be taking the dam down? At this stage is does look like removing the dam will ultimately be necessary given its age and declining structural integrity, but those plans have not yet been formed. The water draw down is being conducted now to ensure the safety of visitors and wildlife while that planning process is underway.
  • Will this harm the wildlife? We are not anticipating that the water draw down will have any significant impact on local wildlife. Our long-term goal is to restore healthy wildlife habitat and we will take any necessary measures to protect local wildlife and the ecosystem throughout the process.
  • Is the dam in danger of breaking open or flooding? Since TNC has taken ownership, the dam on our Eales preserve has been regularly monitored by TNC and the state of Pennsylvania. Recently, there have been signs of erosion and water moving through the dam, which is part of the reason it was determined that reducing the water level was advisable. Following these preventative measures, the engineering consultants do not think the dam will be at immediate risk.

The Dick & Nancy Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain provides sweeping views of Pennsylvania’s northeastern corner and represents one of the best locations in the northeastern U.S. for ridge-top heath barrens.

Contrary to its name, the Moosic Mountain “barrens” comprise a healthy mosaic of stunted pine and oak forest dominated by huckleberry, blueberry, rhodora and other low-lying shrubs that attract a broad array of birds, butterflies and moths—including the globally rare sallow moth and barrens buckmoth.

In 2001, TNC purchased 1,200 acres in the heart of Moosic Mountain that were slated for development, protecting sensitive mountaintop habitat and reducing impacts to water quality.

In 2009, TNC named the preserve after Dick and Nancy Eales, whose generosity has enabled us to continue to expand the preserve, which today encompasses about 2,250 acres, and to conduct the robust prescribed burning necessary to maintain the fire-dependent natural community.

Today, we work with state government and local partners to foster compatible uses and a sense of ownership among bird watchers, mountain bikers, sportsmen and other community groups interested in protecting Moosic Mountain’s ecological resources.

What You'll See

The preserve boasts one of the best and largest ridge-top heath barrens in Pennsylvania. It also harbors an array of birds, butterflies and moths—including the globally-rare sallow moth and barrens buckmoth.

Documented breeding birds include prairie warbler, black-and-white warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, hermit thrush, northern harrier and broad-winged hawk. Visit during spring to witness songbird migration. Game species such as white tail deer, black bear, turkey, ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare and coyote can also be found at the preserve.

Contact TNC’s Hauser Nature Center in Long Pond for information about hunting on or near the preserve. 

Hearty plants emerge around rocks atop a mountain.
Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain
Moosic Mountain features one of the best examples of heath barrens in the northeastern United States.

Resources: Maps & Trail Guides

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