By Rick Hiduk / Above Photos by Jeff Mitchell / Photos below by Bill Kern
(Also published in Living Susquehanna-Wyoming County Magazine)
There are two dozen parks, nature preserves, and municipal parks and sports complexes in Wyoming County. There are hiking and biking trails, publicly accessible lakes and streams, bird watching vistas, and a nationally recognized water trail. But, other than the Susquehanna River’s identification by the National Park Service, there are no officially designated state or county parks in Wyoming County.
This year, the Wyoming County Cultural Center, based in the historic Dietrich Theater in downtown Tunkhannock, secured several grants to revive an earlier attempt to bring a panel of community leaders, nature lovers and outdoor recreationists to the table to catalog the known natural assets of the county, map them and present them to the public in a useful manner.
The result is a handy new resource: Explore Wyoming County Parks & Trails, a 16-page brochure full of maps, recreational tips, and details about established walkways, biking and birding destinations, green spaces, and outfitters who can put you on the water. From neighborhood playgrounds and ballparks to expansive wooded areas featuring wildlife, waterfalls, and rock outcrops, the Explore Wyoming County Parks & Trails guide was released in June and is available at the Dietrich Theater, Endless Mountains Nature Center, and the Endless Mountains Visitors Center.
“People are very excited about the brochure,” said Dietrich Theater executive director Erica Rogler. “We are constantly restocking them.”
In addition to a public presentation at the Dietrich Theater in June, the project included three planned public hikes to highlight featured areas of which many residents and visitors to the area may not have previously known or had the opportunity to explore with an expert. One walk slated for Little Rocky Glen in August was postponed due to heavy rain and flooding concerns and has been rescheduled to Saturday, Oct. 20, with a rain date of Sunday, Oct. 21. The focus of the hike will be fall seasonal changes.
A hike of the Endless Mountains Nature Center, Howland Preserve and Camp Lackawanna on the Vosburg peninsula was conducted by Rebecca Lesko and Joe DeMarco on Sept. 8.
A moderately difficult hike of State Game Lands 57 is planned for Sunday, Sept. 30 and will be conducted by nature author and Wyoming County district attorney Jeff Mitchell. The six-mile walk of the Scouten Brook/Emerald Forest Loop will include a side walk to Zion Rocks and a spectacular vista. Highlights will feature waterfalls; a rare spruce, hemlock and mossy forest; mansion-sized boulders, wet lands, and some steep stretches. Participants should possess sturdy foot ware, water, and layers of clothing appropriate for higher elevations and the possibility of fog or a shower. The hike will be postponed in the event of heavy or steady rain.
“People are very interested in the hikes, especially for the opportunity to explore the state game lands,” said Rogler.
Readers interested in the Sept. 30 hike should call the Dietrich Theater at 570-996-1500. Brochures are available during regular business hours of the theater and the visitors center.
Financial support for the project came from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region with funding from PA DCNR; the Wyoming County Room Tax Fund and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau; and the Wyoming County Commissioners, Office of Community Planning and Marcellus Legacy Fund.