The Endless Mountains region is located in northeastern Pennsylvania and is comprised of vast, elevated plateaus and rolling foothills. While the elevations never top 2,700 feet, it is a wonderland of scenic beauty, with numerous gorges, glens, waterfalls, lakes, rapids, ponds, scenic mountain streams, and incredible vistas. The Endless Mountains are also home to a great biodiversity of plants and animals.
This is an area with many superb hiking opportunities. Not only are the Loyalsock Trail and Old Loggers Path located here, but also famous Ricketts Glen and Worlds End State Parks. Rock Run is a stream of stunning beauty, and the Waterfall Wonderland in SGL 13 is one of the most beautiful places in the eastern United States. With so much public land, there are places that resemble an untouched wilderness.
Many creeks, such as the Loyalsock, Schrader, and Mehoopany, feature thrilling whitewater rapids and gorges, while the Susquehanna River and Tunkhannock Creek are ideal for flatwater kayaking and canoeing.
My motivation to write this blog and write the book “Hiking the Endless Mountains” (http://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Endless-Mountains-Northeastern-Pennsylvania/dp/081170677X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320875565&sr=1-1) has been driven by not only a desire to chronicle my travels, but to also show people how special and unique the Endless Mountains are, and that this region needs to be protected.
Natural gas drilling and development has begun to spread throughout the Endless Mountains. While these activities can bring great economic opportunities, it can also threaten our environment and natural resouces if not properly managed. I am not against drilling, but I feel there must be a balance. I am very concerned how so much of our public lands have been leased for drilling; this is land held in the public trust for all people. If excessive drilling on public lands is allowed, it will result in the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of forests, habitats, and beautiful natural areas. Our state forests and game lands attract millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy the outdoors (and spend their money in our communities). But who will want to hunt, fish, kayak, backpack, camp, hike, or bike ride among rigs, gas wells, and compressor stations? Who will want to visit parks and forests bulldozed for drilling? We must preserve these special places for not only future generations, but also this one.
After all, the Marcellus Shale boom, is just that, a boom. The time will come when it will pass, drilling will stop, wells will be capped, and royalty checks will stop coming in the mail. What will we be left with then? This is not Pennsylvania’s first “boom” and we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past- although it appears we are.
I encourage you to contact your local state representative and senator and urge them to ensure our environment and public lands will be protected. Please also urge them to support a moratorium to prohibit any more state lands from being leased for drilling; 700,000 acres of public lands have already been leased. Please go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ to find your local elected official.
This blog will not only explore the Endless Mountains, but all of Pennsylvania, from Ohiopyle to the Delaware Water Gap, from the stunning Quehanna wilderness to Pine Creek Gorge. Pennsylvania has so many incredible places- and we cannot preserve what we don’t even know exists.
Welcome, and start exploring.