Named for Wilkes-Barre naturalist Thomas Darling, Jr., this preserve attracts interest in every season. In spring, large sweet viburnum shrubs decorate the preserve with white, flat-topped flowers releasing a musty odor that earns them the nickname of “sheepberry.” And sheep laurel and bog laurel thrive in the preserve’s acidic soils.
During autumn, the landscape bursts with cotton grass, along with a colorful palette of wildflowers and blueberries. Year-round, spongy sphagnum moss blankets an array of swamps, fens, bogs and wet meadows encircled by stands of balsam fir, tamarack and one of Pennsylvania’s largest native spruce forests.
For more than twenty years, The Nature Conservancy has managed this largely wooded and undeveloped landscape. Together with partners, TNC continues to protect the natural legacy of this region.
Monroe County, three miles north of the town of Blakeslee
Potential r.esidential development.
What’s At Stake
The Thomas Darling Preserve evokes the area’s glacial past. That includes boreal wetlands with native black spruce, balsam fir and tamarack surrounded by a forest of northern hardwoods such as eastern hemlock and red spruce. Flowering shrubs and rare plants like bog sedge, thread rush and creeping snowberry can be found throughout the understory. The area also teems with wildlife typical of the Pocono Plateau, including black bears, eastern coyotes, snowshoe hares, beavers and a variety of breeding birds such as Canada warbler, black-billed cuckoo, scarlet tanager, barred owl, osprey, golden-crowned kinglet and dark-eyed junco.
Since 1990, TNC has managed the 2,500 acres and continues to seek opportunities to acquire additional property to expand the preserve and enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation.