News Department

NPS: Monroe and Pike County woodlands included in Old-Growth Forest Network

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA – The public is invited to join Superintendent Sapp and members of the Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) at the Lower Hornbecks Creek trailhead for a special initiation ceremony on Thursday, June 29 at 10:00 a.m.

The ceremony will mark the inclusion of two forested areas in the park into the Old-Growth Forest Network where they will join 27 other Pennsylvania forests. The ceremony will be followed by a ranger-guided hike on the Lower Hornbecks Creek Trail. Both are open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

The land that is now Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has been inhabited by people for more than 12,000 years. Over the course of the past 300 years, most of the area’s forests were cut and cleared at least once. Pests, diseases, and other factors have changed the way our forests look today compared to those that were here one, two, or three centuries ago.  But that doesn’t mean one can’t get a glimpse into the past.

“While there are individual trees and pockets of trees that are much older, when we talk about old growth at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, we are usually talking about trees that are between 100-150 years old. Those older trees can usually be found on steep slopes, in ravines, and along streams where logging was more difficult.” explained Kara Deutsch who heads the park’s Resource Management and Science division. “These protected vestiges of old-growth forest are important parts of the natural heritage of the Delaware River valley, and we are honored to preserve them and to see them recognized as the special places they are.”

The two areas of the park that have been recognized for having remnants of old-growth forest include the Hornbecks Creek drainage in Delaware Township, Pike County, and Mt. Minsi in the Borough of Delaware Water Gap, Monroe County.

Mt. Minsi is recognized for its combination of mature mixed hardwoods and old-growth oak-dominated forests atop the Kittatinny Ridge and large hemlocks within the ravines. Mt. Minsi overlooks the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and forms one half of the nationally significant geologic feature, and the park’s namesake, the Delaware Water Gap. Mt. Tammany in New Jersey completes the picture.

Mt. Minsi’s old-growth trees are best experienced with a hike on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail which skirts the ridgetop before dropping down into the Gap.

The Hornbecks Creek drainage is recognized for its stands of mature mixed hardwoods in the uplands and eastern hemlocks through the ravine. Hornbecks Creek rambles through the forest and tumbles over rock outcrops forming two waterfalls as it makes its way to the Delaware River. This area can be enjoyed from the Upper and Lower Hornbecks Creek Trails.

More information on the trees and forests at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is available on the park’s website at the following links:  

The Old-Growth Forest Network is a national network of protected, mature, publicly accessible, native forests that seeks to recognize old-growth forests in every county of the United States where forests occur.

Directions: The Lower Hornbecks Creek Trailhead is in Delaware Township, PA, off Route 209 between mile markers 10 and 11. Parking is limited on the southbound side of Route 209, but additional parking is available on the northbound side.  Use caution crossing the road.

Guided Hike:  The ranger-guided hike following the ceremony is a one-mile hike on an easy trail that crisscrosses Hornbecks Creek before arriving at the lower waterfall. The elevation change is approximately 100 feet. Bring water and insect repellent and wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.   

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button