Pennsylvania

Thomas Darling Preserve at Two-Mile Run

Emerging from underground springs and seeps, Two-Mile Run feeds into Tobyhanna Creek and eventually the Lehigh River. Along the way, it traverses the Thomas Darling Preserve which boasts an extensive mosaic of glacial wetlands.

Named for Wilkes-Barre naturalist Thomas Darling, Jr., the 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. Fall the landscape bursts with cotton grass along with a colorful palette of wildflowers and also 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, the Conservancy continues to protect the natural legacy of this region.

Size

2,500 acres

Location

Monroe County, three miles north of the town of Blakeslee.

Threats

Potential residential development.

What’s At Stake

The preserve is comprised a landscape evoking 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.

Milestones

Since 1990, the Conservancy 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. 

What To Do

Explore the preserve via a two-mile trail and boardwalk system. In the springtime, visitors are treated to colorful flowering shrubs that are in bloom from May through June. In late summer and early fall, blueberries are ripe for picking. Hunting is also permitted at the preserve in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State Game Commission.

Directions

A larger parking lot off of Burger Road (coordinates 41.114700, -75.598663) provides access to the main trails system and boardwalk. Another parking lot off of Caughbaugh Road (coordinates 41.139470, -75.587216) provides parking for two vehicles with one trail leading into the preserve (this access point does not connect to main trail system).

From the North (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): Take I-81 south from Scranton to exit 170A. Take PA-115 south through Bear Creek for 15.5 miles to Caughbaugh Road on the left OR for 17.5 miles to Burger Road on the left.

From Philadelphia/Allentown: Take I-476 north to exit 95. Take a left off of the ramp onto PA-940 east. Travel 6.4 miles to take a left onto PA-115 north. Travel 1.1 miles for Burger Road on the right OR 2.1 miles for Caughbaugh Road on the right.

From I-80: Take I-80 to exit 284 (Blakeslee) and follow the ramp to PA-115 north. Continue for about 2.4 miles to take Burger Road on right (1.1 miles after crossing PA-940) OR continue for about 4.4 miles to take Caughbaugh Road on right (3.1 miles after crossing PA-940).

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