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New public land a first for Wyoming County

  • By Kat Bolus/ WVIA
Miller Mountain's vista in Wyoming County.

 The Conservation Fund

Miller Mountain's vista in Wyoming County.

For the first time ever, the Pinchot State Forest extends into Wyoming County.

Miller Mountain just outside of Tunkhannock is now part of the public land managed by the state and available for outdoor recreation in Northeast Pennsylvania.

“The vistas at the top are absolutely incredible. They’re just breathtaking,” said Cain Chamberlin, executive director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. It’s one of 12 designated heritage areas in PA and serves Wyoming as well as Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties. “Any opportunity we can have to grow outdoor recreation in our region is really exciting.”

The Conservation Fund purchased the land with voluntary stewardship funds from the Williams Energy Company — a natural gas company — and funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“Miller Mountain is just an incredible, sort of iconic piece of property,” said Kyle Shenk, Northeast Regional Director and Pennsylvania State Director for the Conservation Fund. “There’s very few mountains that are for sale that are intact.”

The fund is a land trust that works to conserve land across the United States.

The property in Eaton Twp. has changed hands many times over the past 50 years, according to local newspaper archives. The land was used for the logging industry and was managed at one point by the state’s former Department of Forests and Waters. A private company near Philadelphia first proposed plans in 1969 to create a ski resort. The mountain’s highest point is 2,216 feet.

Trails were at one point cleared for slopes but by 1988 the ski resort idea was dead. Archives from 2007 say that D&L Realty from Dunmore owned the mountain.

“It was a sort of right people, right place, right time to finally acquire the entire 2,500 acre mountain,” said Shenk.

Miller Mountain is now open for passive recreation under all the existing state forest rules and regulations. There’s already some established roads and trails.

“It’s going to be a real draw for folks to come out to mountain bike, to hike, to birdwatch, to hunt and to enjoy all the activities that they do on state forests all over the state,” said Shenk.

The mountain has open fields and a healthy forest, he said. Native wildlife like black bears, white tail deer and certain species of birds call the mountain home.

“Having Miller Mountain available to the public is going to be a fantastic piece of that outdoor recreation economy puzzle,” Shenk said.

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