Buck Hills Conservation Foundation Continues Mission To Protect Pocono’s Oldest Forest

Jenkins Woods which reside in Buck Hill Falls, are among the oldest forests in the Poconos.

According to a Brodhead Watershed Association press release, a private logging company targeting this historic protected site may cause these woods to be a thing of the past. Buck Hill Falls, is privately owned and protected by conservation easements by Buck Hill Conservation Foundation since 1998.

“The Buck Hill Conservation Foundation formed nearly 30 years ago in response to a threat to nearby Chestnut Mountain, an old-growth forest targeted for logging by a private owner,” said Rick Mittereder, a foundation trustee.

“The age of these trees, these guys are well over 100 years old,” said Jackson.

According to the Brodhead Watershed Association, the foundation ultimately acquired Chestnut mountain and the surrounding Spruce and Middle Mountains, the biggest acquisition in the past 20 years for the Buck Hill Falls Foundation.

“Largest and most ambitious project undertaken to date,” stated by Buck Hill Falls Foundation.”

According to a Brodhead Watershed Association press release, The Buck Hill Falls community traces its roots back to 2001. Once featuring a palatial 400-room Inn at Buck Hill Falls now displays a relic of the past after being a victim of arson and ultimately demolished in 2016. Even though the inn is nothing more than a memory, Buck Hill continues to operate with homes and amenities. The amenities include a golf course, pools, a clubhouse, and multiple hiking trails. These trails and woods are privately accessible. However, the Brodhead Watershed Get Outdoors Program allows locals to hike through Jenkins Woods.

According to the Brodhead Watershed Association, Jenkins Woods also is a vital habitat for the local and migratory birds, serving as a stopping ground for those heading north and a perfect nesting place for local birds.

“Near the upper falls, Jackson points to a hemlock tree, the upper portion of which is sheared off, leaving a sizeable trunk but no canopy. Rhododendrons sprout from the top of the tree, almost like hair plugs. It’s an example of how the old-growth forest of Jenkins Woods is covered with “nurse logs,” from which new plants and trees can germinate,” said Jackson.

Three waterfalls are located within Jenkins Woods, creating breathtaking views, with the lower of the three falling 34 feet into a pool. But it is the upper and middle falls that are more impressive. Accessing the upper falls requires scaling a set of stone steps. Holding onto the handrail is advised because the viewing platform is wet and slippery. The upper and middle falls drop first into a pool, then through a narrow chute, and then into a bend before taking a smaller drop. The roar from the torrent fills your ears and makes you appreciate the power of water.

“They get their start in groundwater that seeps along the 800-foot escarpment face of Chestnut Mountain and from bogs and fens, a type of wetland, on top of the Pocono Plateau,” said Jackson.

According to Brodhead Watershed Association, tributaries, rivers, creeks, and other waterways provide exceptional value to local people and wildlife with clean drinking water. These waterways are some of the highest-ranking, ultimate feeding into the Delaware River, supplying 15 million people with drinking water.

For those who did not get a chance to hike Jenkins Woods with the BWA but are interested in visiting, take note, the grounds are private and are only accessible by appointment and accompanied by a guide. To arrange a visit, call the Buck Hill Falls Company offices at 570-595-7511.

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