Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday extended an invitation to residents of Luzerne County and beyond to visit three tracts totaling almost 2,000 acres that became the latest addition to Pinchot State Forest following official county action early last week.
Luzerne County officially closed transfer of the tracts in county council action Oct. 26. Donated by the county to DCNR for management under the Bureau of Forestry were:
The former Moon Lake Park, totaling 942 acres lake in Plymouth, Lehman and Jackson townships; the Missing Link tract, 437 acres, in Jackson and Lehman townships; and Seven Tubs, 537 acres, in Plains and Wilkes-Barre townships and Laurel Run Borough.
"All three of these tracts brings a wealth of new recreational opportunities to the Pinchot State Forest and I commend and thank Luzerne county officials for the donation that entrusts them in the Bureau of Forestry’s care," said Dunn. "I encourage residents of the Luzerne County area to take advantage of the autumn weather and hike and explore these new and diverse state forestlands."
Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton said the land transfer to DCNR brings "greater access, better quality experience and higher public use" to citizens of Luzerne County.
Dunn said Moon Lake will be known as the Moon Lake State Forest Recreation Area and, for the time being, will remain closed to camping, firewood permits and hunting. All other activities common to state forests are permitted.
"We are in the process of developing demolition bid specifications and will remove most of the existing infrastructure starting early next year," said the secretary. "In addition a recreation plan will be developed providing guidance for trail use, camping, hunting, boating and other future Moon Lake activities."
The Seven Tubs area, part of the state forest’s Deep Hollow Tract, will be known as the Seven Tubs Recreation Area. While determination of whether the Tubs is officially a natural historic site is being sought, the area will remain closed to camping, fuel wood permits and hunting.
All other activities common to state forests are permitted in the area, so named for a series of large potholes carved into bedrock by Wheelbarrow Run flowing through a ravine.
It should be noted these guidelines are only for the Tubs area. The surrounding Deep Hollow tract is open to hunting and primitive camping. Immediate plans call for improvements to trailhead parking lots and trail system, and replacement of a collapsed bridge.
The Missing Link connects the north and south blocks of the state forest’s Harvey’s Creek Tract. Part of the former Theta property, the Missing Link will be managed under existing timber reservations with a private lumber company until 2028. As a result, no fuel permits will be issued. Other than that restriction, the area is open to all state forest activities.
The district's latest land acquisitions brings its total acreage to more than 46,000 acres in an area marked by the confluence of the Susquehanna and Lackawanna rivers. Pinchot State Forest District includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Wayne counties.For more information, visit DCNR’s Pinchot State Forest webpage.