Places We Protect

Long Pond Preserve and Hauser Nature Center

Pennsylvania

A ribbon thin green snake is held in a person's hand and slithers across their fingers.
Green Snake Green Snake at Long Pond Preserve in Pennsylvania. © George C. Gress/TNC

Long Pond Preserve harbors species tolerant of cooler temperatures reminiscent of the region’s glacial past.

Overview

Description

In contrast to typical barrens usually associated with dry, shallow, nutrient-poor sandy soils, the mesic till barrens found at the Long Pond Preserve thrive in rich loam full of moisture and capable of supporting a unique type of woodland landscape more characteristic of Canada’s northern climate. That is because, historically, regular and somewhat frequent wildfires sustained this unique habitat and prevented it from succeeding to mature forest.

However, for more than a half-century, suppression of wildfires in this rapidly developing landscape has jeopardized the health of Long Pond’s mesic till barrens. Without this natural disturbance, more than 70 percent of the original habitat has transformed into fire-intolerant forest that does not support the rare species known to reside here.

In response, TNC, together with partners, has employed cutting-edge science to assemble a detailed inventory, maps of plant and animal communities, and spatial and demographic data for the area encompassing the Long Pond Preserve. This data is crucial to effectively managing these unique barrens today and in the future.

Over the years, TNC has worked with partners to acquire property, complete an ecological management plan and establish a prescribed fire program for this unique landscape. This has led to cutting-edge conservation strategies that included the enrollment of 8,588 acres by Bethlehem Water Authority into the Working Woodlands Program, which provides forest landowners with a rigorous analysis of their property and access to forest certification and carbon markets, in exchange for a commitment to practice sustainable forestry.

TNC also entered into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to employ prescribed burning to restore more than 2,000 acres in the barrens over the past decade. Today, TNC continues to work with local government and other partners to acquire and manage additional lands, and provide public access to quality outdoor recreation.

Access

Limited Access

Hours

On weekdays, visitors are encouraged to stop by the Hauser Nature Center.

Highlights

Swamp, bog, and marsh habitats, birdwatching, rare butterflies and moths. Enjoy a guided walk along Cathy's Trail. Seasonal hunting is allowed in accordance with the PA Game Commission.

Size

Long Pond is a complex comprised of an estimated 12,000 acres owned by entities that include Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania State Parks, Wildlands Conservancy and TNC.

Explore our work in Pennsylvania

Long Pond is one of Audubon Society’s Important Bird Areas of Pennsylvania. The landscape hosts rare butterflies and moths, as well as birds that are declining throughout most of Pennsylvania such as osprey, northern harrier, eastern towhee, prairie warbler, whip-poor-will, common yellowthroat and chestnut-sided warbler. The area also hosts American Bittern and Northern Harrier—bird species not commonly observed in other parts of the region. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy prime bird watching from the early spring through fall.

This preserve's exceptionally diverse mesic till barrens—comprised of swamps, bogs, marshes and shallow ponds surrounded by woodlands with a heath understory of Rhodora, sheep-laurel, highbush blueberry and huckleberry bushes—attracts many species of boreal plants, insects, birds and mammals, and features rocks with glacial signatures more typical of Canada and New England.

Guide to iNaturalist

Join a community of citizen scientists using our iNaturalist fact sheet.

Become A Citizen Scientist

We are creating a citizen science database of all kinds of life—from lichens to ants, mushrooms to plants, birds to mammals and everything in between for our preserves in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

TNC's roots began with local citizens and scientists concerned about special places and species. That legacy continues today. Across our lands, we are utilizing iNaturalist—a digital platform that gives users an opportunity to share and discuss their findings.

Our 14 preserve projects in iNaturalist currently have 2,709 observations of 1,219 species made by 47 observers. Of the 14 preserve projects, nine have observations recorded; help us increase that number and our understanding of the species—good and bad, native as well as invasive—that can be found on TNC lands across the state. This information can also help guide and inform our conservation staff's management and monitoring decisions.

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