A secret revealed

First Posted: 8/12/2014

Tucked away in the countryside along the Susquehanna River just north of Tunkhannock is a 669-acre property with historic buildings from the 1800s, a canal bed, a rail bed, a graveyard from the 1700s, stone walls, non-motorized boat access, picnic areas, a planned trail system and more.

Although open daily to the public from dawn to dusk, The Howland Preserve, 546 Vosburg Road, Tunkhannock, remains something of an unintended secret to the majority of the community — which the Friends of The Howland Preserve is attempting to change.

The volunteer group held its inaugural Gathering at the River fundraiser Aug. 9 at the property, which is owned and maintained by the North Branch Land Trust, Trucksville, and located adjacent to Camp Lackawanna. With a dual goal of raising funds for and awareness of the preserve, the community event featured kayaking with Endless Mountains Outfitters, live music by Don Shappelle and Barry Derninis, refreshments from a Fire and Ice food truck, children’s activities with the Endless Mountains Nature Center, hiking tours, a jewelry class, various craft vendors and information tables, outdoor games and more.

The day was a success, according to event organizer Ali Wilson, with over 150 people in attendance.

“The importance of the Preserve is community green space,” she said. “Wyoming County is the only county in PA with a state run park. That is because it is mostly privately owned and we are in the middle of gas land. We need to protect and maintain this special property. We have smaller parks in Tunkhannock, but nothing with a trail system on 669 protected acres along the Susquehanna river.”

Funds raised from the Aug. 9 event are planned to help complete work on the historic barn and purchase trailhead signs.

In addition to its monetary needs, the group is seeking volunteers from the community to help with a variety of tasks, such as trail building, grounds maintenance and monitoring, skilled labor on the buildings and more.

“Without volunteers,” Wilson said, “the place would be unkept. We work nicely with the North Branch Land Trust, and gaining support and volunteers is what this project is all about. We all need each other. We are coming together to improve and maintain historical nature preserve and it’s so worth it. We are always looking for positive help and we are forever grateful to all our volunteers.”

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