Located in State Game Lands #221, Barrett Township, PA
The Gravel Family Preserve offers a wide variety of habitat including high and low bush blueberry fields, grassy old farm field, hardwood forest, huge wetland, and steep slopes rising 2000 feet to the Mt. Wismer Preserve. This 170 acre property is located off Gravel Road. Take Route 447 north from the light in Canadensis, go approximately 3 miles and turn right onto Gravel Road. Continue for 0.2 miles to the entrance on your left. Pull in to the parking area. The trail begins at the metal gate, travel through a field and notice the swamp on the right, home to woodcock and a variety of wildlife. The trail meanders through additional fields, into an old hardwood forest and then back to a stream feeding the wetland. Here you can view an old stonework foundation.
Mount Wismer Preserve offers a panoramic view of Barrett Township from the escarpment of the Pocono Plateau. This Preserve is 90+ acres, and includes hardwood forest, open fields, and a variety of wildflowers. From the edge of the plateau, you can see the Delaware Water Gap, and ski areas for Shawnee and Camelback. Early morning mist often delineates the creeks that flow into the Brodhead. In the fall, the view of changing colors is spectacular.
Trails are completed and marked. A gravel road brings you into the Preserve, going downhill, then climbs steeply. At the end is a narrow trail going up to the plateau where you can enjoy the view.
Open to the Public
Owned and managed by Paradise and Barrett Townships through the Pocono Area Recreation Commission
In 2014, the Buck Hill Conservation Foundation and the Buck Hill Falls Company jointly hired a forester to prepare a forest management plan for 4,330 acres of Buck Hill Falls, including Chestnut Mountain. The study by Green Leaf Consulting provides a comprehensive assessment of the property and lists recommendations for the conservation and restoration of the forest. The Plan suggests such strategies as adopting an aggressive herbicide control plan for invasive exotic species and the planting of such seedlings as red spruce, white spruce or other conifers on treated sites. The aim is allow seedlings to grow and shade out invasive hay-scented ferns and other unwanted vegetation.
As you ascend northwards along the lower half of the Blue Trail, look for wildflowers that are now competing with the invasive plants. The plan suggests that open, sunny areas could be converted to wildflower species, fruit bearing shrubs or saplings—all to attract wildlife species.
The degree to which we step in to shape the regeneration of this land is a decision that lies ahead. Meanwhile, nature is working to reclaim Chestnut Mountain with the native species that once thrived there.
The Buck Hill Forest Management Plan can be found at buckhillconservation.org.