Leonard Harrison State Park


Leonard Harrison State Park

Geobox Protected Area
name = Leonard Harrison State Park
native_name =
other_name =
other_name1 =
category_local = Pennsylvania State Park
category_iucn = III


image_size = 300
image_caption = View north of Pine Creek Gorge, Pine Creek, and the Pine Creek Rail Trail from the main lookout area in Leonard Harrison State Park
etymology_type = Named for
etymology = Leonard Harrison
country = United States
state = Pennsylvania
region_type = County
region = Tioga
district_type = Townships
district = Shippen, Delmar
city =
city1 =
location = Pine Creek Gorge
lat_d = 41
lat_m = 41
lat_s = 48
lat_NS = N
long_d = 77
long_m = 27
long_s = 16
long_EW = W
location_note =cite web
url=Gnis3|1198254
title=Leonard Harrison State Park
date = August 30, 1990
work=Geographic Names Information System
publisher=United States Geological Survey
accessmonthday= June 4|accessyear=2008
]
elevation_imperial = 1821
elevation_round = 1
elevation_note =
area_unit = acre
area_imperial = 585
area_round = 0
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established_type =
established = 1922
established1_type =
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management_body = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
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visitation =142,716
visitation_year =2003
visitation_note =cite web| url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/info/pawilds/recplan-app08.pdf | title = Pine Creek Valley Early Action Recommendations | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources | author = Fermata Inc. of Austin, Texas | format = PDF |month = August | year = 2005 |accessmonthday=July 25|accessyear=2008]
free_type = Nearest city
free = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
free1_type =
free1 =


map_caption = Location of Leonard Harrison State Park in Pennsylvania
map_locator = Pennsylvania
map_size = 300
map_first =
map1 = Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks Map.png map1_size = 300
map1_caption = Colton Point (left) and Leonard Harrison (right) State Parks in Tioga County, Pennsylvania
website = [http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/STATEPARKS/PARKS/leonardharrison.aspx Leonard Harrison State Park]

Leonard Harrison State Park is a convert|585|acre|adj=on Pennsylvania state park in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in the United States. It is on the east rim of the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, which is convert|800|ft|m|0 deep and nearly convert|4000|ft|m|0 across here. It also serves as headquarters for the adjoining Colton Point State Park, its sister park on the west rim of the gorge. Leonard Harrison State Park is known for its views of the Pine Creek Gorge, and offers hiking, fishing and hunting, whitewater boating, and camping. The park is in Shippen and Delmar Townships, convert|10|mi west of Wellsboro at the western terminus of Pennsylvania Route 660.

Pine Creek flows through the park and has carved the gorge through five major rock formations from the Devonian and Carboniferous periods. Native Americans once used the Pine Creek Path along the creek. The path was later used by lumbermen, and then became the course of a railroad from 1883 to 1988. Since 1996, the convert|63.4|mi|adj=on Pine Creek Rail Trail has followed the creek through the park. The Pine Creek Gorge was named a National Natural Landmark in 1968 and is also protected as a Pennsylvania State Natural Area and Important Bird Area, while Pine Creek is a Pennsylvania Scenic and Wild River. The gorge is home to many species of plants and animals, some of which have been reintroduced to the area.

Although the Pine Creek Gorge was clearcut in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is now covered by second growth forest, thanks in part to the conservation efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The park is named for Leonard Harrison, a Wellsboro lumberman who cut the timber there, then established the park, which he donated to the state in 1922. The CCC improved the park and built many of its original facilities. Since a successful publicity campaign in 1936, the park has been a popular tourist destination and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Leonard Harrison State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Parks for its "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks" list, which praised its "spectacular vistas and a fabulous view of Pine Creek Gorge, also known as Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon".cite web| url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/twenty/20parks.aspx | title = Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks | accessmonthday=August 8|accessyear=2007| publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources "Note: Despite the title, there are twenty-one parks in the list, with Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks treated as one."]

History

Native Americans

Humans have lived in what is now Pennsylvania since at least 10,000 BC. The first settlers were Paleo-Indian nomadic hunters known from their stone tools.cite book |title = Foundations of Pennsylvania Prehistory | author = Kent, Barry C.; Smith III, Ira F.; McCann, Catherine (Editors) |year= 1971 |publisher= Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission |location= Harrisburg, Pennsylvania |series= Anthropological Series of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission|volume= 1 |pages = pp. 4, 7–11, 85–96, 195–201 (No ISBN) ] cite book |last= Wallace |first= Paul A. W. |title= Indians in Pennsylvania | origdate = 1961 |year= 2000 | publisher= Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission |location= Harrisburg, Pennsylvania |isbn= 978-0892710171 | pages = pp. 4–12, 84–89, 99–105, 145–148, 157–164
"Note": For a general overview of Native American History in the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, see cite book
last = Meginness
first = John Franklin
title = History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania: including its aboriginal history; the colonial and revolutionary periods; early settlement and subsequent growth; organization and civil administration; the legal and medical professions; internal improvement; past and present history of Williamsport; manufacturing and lumber interests; religious, educational, and social development; geology and agriculture; military record; sketches of boroughs, townships, and villages; portraits and biographies of pioneers and representative citizens, etc. etc.
year = 1892
url = http://www.usgennet.org/usa/pa/county/lycoming/history/lyco-history-01.html
accessdate = 2008-06-17
edition = 1st Edition
publisher = Brown, Runk & Co
location = Chicago, IL
id = ISBN 0-7884-0428-8
chapter = Chapter I. Aboriginal Occupation.
chapterurl = http://www.usgennet.org/usa/pa/county/lycoming/history/Chapter-01.html
"Note:" ISBN refers to the Heritage Books July 1996 reprint. URL is to a scan of the 1892 version with some OCR typos.] The hunter-gatherers of the Archaic period, which lasted locally from 7000 to 1000 BC, used a greater variety of more sophisticated stone artifacts. The Woodland period marked the gradual transition to semi-permanent villages and horticulture, between 1000 BC and 1500 AD. Archeological evidence found in the state from this time includes a range of pottery types and styles, burial mounds, pipes, bows and arrows, and ornaments.

Leonard Harrison State Park is in the West Branch Susquehanna River drainage basin, the earliest recorded inhabitants of which were the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks. [The earliest written record of contact with the Susquehannocks comes from Captain John Smith of Jamestown, who met members of the tribe near the mouth of the Susquehanna River on Chesapeake Bay in 1608. The tribe controlled the Susquehanna drainage basin and are believed to have lived there for at least a few centuries prior to this contact.] They were a matriarchal society that lived in stockaded villages of large long houses, and "occasionally inhabited" the mountains surrounding the Pine Creek Gorge.cite book
last = Owlett
first = Steven E.
title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge
year = 1993
chapter = The Land That Was
pages = pp. 39, 40, 43, 46, 49, 50
edition = 1st Edition
publisher = Interprint
location = Petaluma, California
id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2
] Their numbers were greatly reduced by disease and warfare with the Five Nations of the Iroquois, and by 1675 they had died out, moved away, or been assimilated into other tribes.

After this, the lands of the West Branch Susquehanna River valley were under the nominal control of the Iroquois. The Iroquois lived in long houses, primarily in what is now New York, and had a strong confederacy which gave them power beyond their numbers. They and other tribes used the Pine Creek Path through the gorge, traveling between a path on the Genesee River in modern New York in the north, and the Great Shamokin Path along the West Branch Susquehanna River in the south. The Seneca tribe of the Iroquois believed that Pine Creek Gorge was sacred land and never established a permanent settlement there.cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/news/resource/res2005/05-0315-leonardharrisonsp.aspx | title = Park Spotlight: Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks | accessdate = 2008-07-26 | author = Morey, Tim | publisher = Resource: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and natural resources] They used the path through the gorge and had seasonal hunting camps along it, including one just north of the park near what is now the village of Ansonia.cite book
last = Wallace
first = Paul A. W.
title = Indian Paths of Pennsylvania
edition = Fourth Printing
year = 1987
publisher = Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
location = Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
id = ISBN 0-89271-090-X
pages = pp. 66–72, 130–132
"Note:" ISBN refers to 1998 impression] To fill the void left by the demise of the Susquehannocks, the Iroquois encouraged displaced tribes from the east to settle in the West Branch watershed, including the Shawnee and Lenape (or Delaware).cite book |last=Donehoo |first= Dr. George P. |title= "A History of the Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania" |origdate= 1928 |url= http://www.srbc.net/pubinfo/docs/IndianNamesDataChart.PDF|format= PDF|accessdate= 2008-06-17|edition= Second Reprint Edition |year= 1999|publisher= Wennawoods Publishing |location= Lewisburg, Pennsylvania|id= ISBN 1-889037-11-7|pages= pp. 154–155, 215–219 "Note": ISBN refers to a 1999 reprint edition, URL is for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission's web page of Native American Place names, quoting and citing the book.]

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) led to the migration of many Native Americans westward to the Ohio River basin. On November 5, 1768, the British acquired the New Purchase from the Iroquois in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, including what is now Leonard Harrison State Park. The Purchase line established by this treaty was disputed, as it was unclear whether the border along "Tiadaghton Creek" referred to Pine Creek or to Lycoming Creek, further to the east. As a result, the land between them was disputed territory until 1784 and the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwix. After the American Revolutionary War, Native Americans almost entirely left Pennsylvania, although some isolated bands of Natives remained in Pine Creek Gorge until the War of 1812.cite book | url = http://www.joycetice.com/1883/shippent.htm | title = History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania with Illustrations, Portraits and Sketches |chapter = Shippen Township | accessdate = 2008-07-23 | last = Sexton Jr. |first = John L. | publisher = W. W. Munsell & Co. | location = New York, New York | year = 1883 | pages = pp. 313–326]

Lumber era

Prior to the arrival of William Penn and his Quaker colonists in 1682, up to 90 percent of what is now Pennsylvania was covered with woods: more than convert|31000|mi2|-3 of Eastern White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, and a mix of hardwoods. cite web |url = http://www.lumbermuseum.org/history.html |title = The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum - History |accessdate = 2008-07-22 |publisher = Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission ] The forests near the three original counties, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester, were the first to be harvested, as the early settlers used the readily available timber to build homes, barns, and ships, and cleared the land for agriculture. The demand for wood products slowly increased and by the time of the American Revolution the lumber industry had reached the interior and mountainous regions of Pennsylvania.cite book |last=Taber III |first= Thomas T. |title= Williamsport Lumber Capital |year= 1995 |edition= First Edition |publisher= Paulhamus Litho, Inc. |location= Montoursville, Pennsylvania |chapter= Chapter Two: The Boom — Making It All Possible |pages = pp.23–34 (No ISBN)] Lumber thus became one of the leading industries in Pennsylvania. Trees were used to furnish fuel to heat homes, tannin for the many tanneries that were spread throughout the state, and wood for construction, furniture, and barrel making. Large areas of forest were harvested by colliers to fire iron furnaces. Rifle stocks and shingles were made from Pennsylvania timber, as were a wide variety of household utensils, and the first Conestoga wagons.

By the early 19th century the demand for lumber reached the Pine Creek Gorge, where the surrounding mountainsides were covered with Eastern White Pine nowrap|3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 m) in diameter and convert|150|ft or more tall, Eastern Hemlock convert|9|ft in circumference, and huge hardwoods. Each nowrap|acre (0.40 ha) of these virgin forests produced nowrap|100,000 board feet (236 m³) of white pine and nowrap|200,000 board feet (472 m³) of hemlock and hardwoods. For comparison, the same area of forest today produces a total of only nowrap|5,000 board feet (11.8 m³) on average. According to Steven E. Owlett, environmental lawyer and author, shipbuilders considered pine from Pine Creek the "best timber in the world for making fine ship masts",cite book | last = Owlett | first = Steven E. | title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge | year = 1993 | chapter = The Death of a Forest | pages = pp. 53–62 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Interprint | location = Petaluma, California | id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2 ] so it was the first lumber to be harvested on a large scale. Pine Creek was declared a public highway by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on March 16, 1798, and rafts of spars were floated down the creek to the Susquehanna River, then to the Chesapeake Bay and the shipbuilders at Baltimore. The lumbermen would then walk home, following the old Pine Creek Path at the end of their journey. A spar sold for one dollar and three spars up to convert|90|ft long were lashed together to make a ship's mast. The largest spar produced on Pine Creek was convert|43|in|cm in diameter convert|12|ft above the base, convert|93|ft long, and convert|33|in|cm in diameter at the top. By 1840, Tioga County alone produced over 452 such spar rafts with more than nowrap|22,000,000 board feet (52,000 m³) of lumber.

As the 19th century progressed, fewer pines were left and more hemlocks and hardwoods were cut and processed locally. By 1810 there were 11 sawmills in the Pine Creek watershed, and by 1840 there were 145, despite a flood in 1832 which wiped out nearly all the mills along the creek. Selective harvesting of pines was replaced by clearcutting of all lumber in a tract. The first lumbering activity to take place close to what is now Leonard Harrison State Park occurred in 1838 when William Dodge and some partners built a settlement at Big Meadows and formed the Pennsylvania Joint Land and Lumber Company. Dodge's company purchased thousands of acres of land in the area, including what is now Colton Point State Park. In 1865 the last pine spar raft floated down the creek, and on March 28, 1871 the General Assembly passed a law allowing splash dam construction and clearing of creeks to allow loose logs to float better. The earliest spring log drives floated up to nowrap|20,000,000 board feet (47,000 m³) of logs in Pine Creek at one time. These logs floated to the West Branch Susquehanna River and to sawmills near the Susquehanna Boom at Williamsport. Hemlock wood was not widely used until the advent of wire nails, but the bark was used to tan leather. After 1870 the largest tanneries in the world were in the Pine Creek watershed, and required convert|2000|lb of bark to produce convert|150|lb of quality sole leather.

In 1883 the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railway opened, following the creek through the gorge. The new railroad used the relatively level route along Pine Creek to link the New York Central Railroad with the Clearfield Coalfield. In the surrounding forests, log drives gave way to logging railroads, which transported lumber to local sawmills. There were 13 companies operating logging railroads along Pine Creek and its tributaries between 1886 and 1921, while the last log drive in the Pine Creek watershed started on Little Pine Creek in 1905. The west rim, which became Colton Point State Park, had a logging railroad by 1903, which was able to harvest lumber on Fourmile Run that had been previously inaccessible. The old growth forests were clearcut by the early 20th century and the gorge was stripped bare. Nothing was left except the dried-out tree tops, which became a fire hazard, so much of the land burned and was left barren. On May 6, 1903 the Wellsboro newspaper had the headline "Wild Lands Aflame" and reported landslides through the gorge. The soil was depleted of nutrients, fires baked the ground hard, and jungles of blueberries, blackberries, and mountain laurel covered the clearcut land, which became known as the "Pennsylvania Desert". Disastrous floods swept the area periodically and much of the wildlife was wiped out.

Nessmuk and Leonard Harrison

George Washington Sears, an early conservationist who wrote under the pen name "Nessmuk", was one of the first to criticize Pennsylvania lumbering and its destruction of forests and creeks.cite book | title = Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: A Natural & Human History |last = Dillon | first = Chuck |edition = 2nd Edition |publisher = Pine Creek Press |location = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |year = 2006 | chapter = Nessmuk: The Voice for Conservation | pages = pp. 31–32 (No ISBN)] In his 1884 book "Woodcraft" he wrote of the Pine Creek watershed where "A huge tannery ... poisons and blackens the stream with chemicals, bark and ooze. ... The once fine covers and thickets are converted into fields thickly dotted with blackened stumps. And, to crown the desolation, heavy laden trains of 'The Pine Creek and Jersey Shore R.R.' go thundering [by] almost hourly ... Of course, this is progress; but, whether backward or forward, had better be decided sixty years hence."cite book | title = Woodcraft | author = Nessmuk (Sears, George Washington) | chapter = CHAPTER VI Camp Cookery—How It Is Usually Done, With A Few Simple Hints On Plain Cooking—Cooking Fire And Outdoor Range | url = http://www.zianet.com/jgray/nessmuk/woodcraft/chapter06.html |publisher = Forest and Stream |location = New York |year = 1884 |edition = 1920 Edition | accessdate = 2008-08-03] Nessmuk's words went mostly unheeded in his lifetime and did not prevent the clearcutting of almost all of the virgin forests in Pennsylvania.

Sears lived in Wellsboro from 1844 until his death in 1890, and was the first to describe the Pine Creek Gorge.cite web | url = http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/DOH/countyresults.asp?county=Tioga | title = PHMC: Historical Markers Program (Tioga County) |publisher = Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission | accessdate = 2008-08-03] He also described a trip to what became Leonard Harrison State Park: after a convert|6|mi|adj=on buggy ride, he then had to hike convert|7|mi through tangles of fallen trees and branches, down ravines, and over banks for five hours. At least he reached "The Point", which he wrote was "the jutting terminus of a high ridge which not only commands a capital view of the opposite mountain, but also of the Pine Creek Valley, up and down for miles". [Quoted in cite book
last = Owlett
first = Steven E.
title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge
year = 1993
chapter = The Birth of Pennsylvania's 'Grand Canyon'
pages = p. 67
edition = 1st Edition
publisher = Interprint
location = Petaluma, California
id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2
] A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) state historical marker commemorating Nessmuk was dedicated in the park in 1972.

The creation of the park was the work of Leonard Harrison, a former lumberman and businessman from Wellsboro who owned a substantial amount of land in the Pine Creek Gorge. In the 1890s Harrison operated a sawmill at Tiadaghton in the middle of the gorge, which was supplied with logs, not by train as was most common in that era, but by a log slide built into the side of the gorge. The log slide was used on a year round basis: during the winter the logs slid down on ice; following the snowmelt the slide was greased to ease the descent of the logs. After the village and the mill were destroyed by a fire, Harrison turned his attention to tourism. He purchased convert|121|acre of land at the site of the current park in 1906, then developed this land, known as "The Lookout", and invited to public to enjoy the beauty of Pine Creek Gorge. Harrison donated the picnic grounds to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1922.cite web
url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/Parks/leonardharrison.aspx
title = Leonard Harrison State Park
accessdate = 2006-10-29
publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
]

Although the park was donated to the state, the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce made initial improvements there and operated it for the first two decades. Elsewhere in the gorge the state bought land abandoned by lumber companies, sometimes for less than nowrap|$2 per acre ($5 per ha). Except for the adjoining Colton Point State Park, this land became the Tioga State Forest, which was officially established in 1925 and lies just north and south of the park. As of 2008 the state forest encompasses convert|160000|acre, mostly in Tioga County.cite book
last = Owlett
first = Steven E.
title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge
year = 1993
chapter = The Birth of Pennsylvania's 'Grand Canyon'
pages = pp. 65, 67, 68, 72
edition = 1st Edition
publisher = Interprint
location = Petaluma, California
id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2
]

Modern era

Despite its new status as "Leonard Harrison Harrison State Forest Park", it took time for the park to become more well known. Access to the park over small roads was still difficult. An elderly woman who had lived nearby all her life visited the park for the first time in 1932 and asked, on seeing the gorge, "How long has this been here?"

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) improved access and constructed many of the amenities at Leonard Harrison park from 1933 to 1936, during the Great Depression. The CCC was founded by American President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 and created many jobs for the unemployed industrial workers of Williamsport, Jersey Shore and Wellsboro. Leonard Harrison State Park is one of many examples of the work of the CCC throughout north-central Pennsylvania. The CCC built picnic and comfort facilities, made roads and trails (often following old logging roads), and planted stands of white pine, spruce and larch.cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/news/resource/res2005/05-0329-leonardharrisonsp.aspx | title = Park Spotlight: Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks (Part 2) | accessdate = 2008-07-26 | author = Morey, Tim | publisher = Resource: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and natural resources] Some of the CCC-constructed facilities remain and are still used,cite book |last= Cupper |first= Dan |title= Our Priceless Heritage: Pennsylvania’s State Parks 1893–1993 |year= 1993 |publisher= Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks |location= Harrisburg, Pennsylvania |isbn= 0-89271-056-X |pages = pp. 18, 24] and the park has hosted a reunion of former CCC workers each summer since 1990. [cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/view_event.asp?CalendarID=6539&Location=Date |title = Calendar of Event: CCC Reunion Picnic |publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources | date = August 9, 2008 | accessdate = 2008-08-12]

In 1936 Larry Woodin of Wellsboro and other Tioga County business owners began a tourism campaign to promote the Pine Creek Gorge as "The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania". Greyhound Bus Lines featured a view of the canyon from a Leonard Harrison lookout on the back cover of its Atlantic Coast timetable. The bus line's Chicago to New York City tour had an overnight stay in Wellsboro and a morning visit to the canyon for $3. More than 300,000 tourists visited the canyon by the autumn of 1936, and 15,000 visited Leonard Harrison over Memorial Day weekend in 1937. That year more visitors came to the Pine Creek Gorge than to Yellowstone National Park. In response to the heavy use of the local roads, the CCC widened the highways in the area, and guides from the CCC gave tours of the canyon. A PHMC state historical marker honoring the CCC's work in the park and county was dedicated on June 3, 1995. Near the lookout over the gorge there is a bronze statue of a "Tioga County CCC Worker", unveiled on August 14, 1999, as a monument to the achievements of the CCC. cite news |first= Lee Ed |last= Thomas II |title= Statue unveiled at park honoring work of CCC |url= http://greenfreelibrary.newspaperarchive.com/PdfViewer.aspx?
|work= The Marketplace |publisher= The Gazette and Free Press Courier |location= Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |pages= 1, 16 |date= August 18, 1999 |accessdate=2008-08-12
] cite web
url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/history/historycccyears.aspx
title = Pennsylvania State Parks: The CCC Years
accessdate = 2006-11-28
publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
] [cite web | url = http://www.newdeallegacy.org/ccc_news.html | title = CCC Statues | publisher = National New Deal Preservation Association | month = November | year = 2007 | accessdate = 2008-08-06]

After the Second World War the state took over operation of the park, and expanded its size beyond the original land donated by Harrison: six purchases between 1946 and 1949 increased the park's area from convert|128|acre to convert|585|acre at a cost of $26,328. The Pennsylvania Geographic Board dropped the word "Forest" and officially named it "Leonard Harrison State Park" on November 11, 1954.cite book| title = History of Pennsylvania's State Parks | last = Forrey |first = William C. | year = 1984 |publisher = Bureau of State Parks, Office of Resources Management, Department of Environmental Resources, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania |location = Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | pages = pp. 14, 90 (No ISBN) ] The park was improved in the following decade with the completion of new latrines (1963) and a new concession stand and visitor center (1968). Pine Creek was named a state scenic river on December 4, 1992, which ensured further protection of Pine Creek Gorge in its natural state. In 2005 the state began a $1.2 million upgrade of park facilities, including a new maintenance building, the replacement of three pit latrines at the overlook and campground, the addition of showers at the campground, and the conversion of all restrooms to flush toilets.

The second half of the 20th century saw great changes in the rail line through the park. Regular passenger service on the canyon line ended after the Second World War, and in 1960 the second set of train tracks was removed. cite book | last = Owlett | first = Steven E. | title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge | year = 1993 | chapter = Rails to Trails | pages = pp. 87, 88, 92, 94 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Interprint | location = Petaluma, California | id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2 ] Conrail abandoned the section of the railroad passing through the gorge on September 21, 1988. The right-of-way eventually became the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which follows the path of the former Pine Creek Path. The first section of the rail trail opened in 1996 and included the convert|1|mi section in the park: as of 2008 the Pine Creek Rail Trail is convert| 63.5|mi|km|0 long.

Leonard Harrison State Park continued to attract national attention in the post-war era. "The New York Times" featured the park and its "breath-taking views of the gorge" as well as its trails and picnic groves in a 1950 article, [cite news |first= Curtis Townley |last= Bryan |title= Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: Camps and Picnic Areas Abound in Wilds Along Pine Creek Gorge |publisher= "The New York Times" |date= July 16, 1950 |page= X19 ] and in 1966 praised the whitewater boating on Pine Creek and the park's "outstanding look-out points". [cite news |first= Ed |last= Van Dyne |title= Spring Means 'White Water' in Pennsylvania |publisher= "The New York Times" |date= March 13, 1966 |page= 458 ] The Pine Creek Gorge, including Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks and a convert|12|mi|adj=on section of Tioga State Forest, was named a National Natural Landmark (NNL) in April 1968. The plaque for the entire NNL is on the lookout terrace of Leonard Harrison State Park. Another "New York Times" article on whitewater canoeing in 1973 noted the damage along the creek done by Hurricane Agnes the year before, and Leonard Harrison's waterfalls. [cite news |first= George |last= Ingram |title= Running the Rapids 'Deliverance'-Style in Pennsylvania |publisher= "The New York Times" |date= June 10, 1973 |page= 542 ]

In the new millennium, the two state parks on either side of the Pine Creek Gorge are frequently treated as one. A 2002 "New York Times" article called Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks "Two State Parks, Divided by a Canyon" and noted their "overlooks offer the most spectacular views". [cite news |title= If You Go: Two State Parks, Divided by a Canyon | publisher= "The New York Times" |date= November 22, 2002 |page= F4 ] Leonard Harrison and Colton Point were each part of the twenty-one state parks chosen by the DCNR Pennsylvania Bureau of Parks for its "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks" list. They are the only two parks treated as one unit for the list. The DCNR describes the parks together, noting how they "offer spectacular vistas and a fabulous view of Pine Creek Gorge, also known as Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon". It goes on to praise their inclusion in a National Natural Landmark and State Park Natural Area, hiking and trails, and the Pine Creek Rail Trail and bicycling.

Pine Creek Gorge

Leonard Harrison State Park lies on the easst side of the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. A sister park, Colton Point State Park, is on the west side, and the two parks combined form essentially one large park that includes parts of the gorge and creek and parts of the plateau dissected by the gorge. Pine Creek has carved the gorge nearly convert|47|mi through the dissected Allegheny Plateau in northcentral Pennsylvania. The canyon begins in southwestern Tioga County, just south of the village of Ansonia, and continues south to near the village of Waterville in Lycoming County. The depth of the gorge in Colton Point State Park is about convert|800|ft|m|0 and it measures nearly convert|4000|ft|m|0 across.cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/coltonpoint.aspx | title = Colton Point State Park | | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources] cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/parkguides/pg05.pdf | title = Pennsylvania Trail of Geology, Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Geologic Features of Interest (Park Guide 5) |last = McGlade |first = William G. | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources |format= PDF ]

The Pine Creek Gorge National Natural Landmark includes Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks and parts of the Tioga State Forest along convert|12|mi of Pine Creek between Ansonia and Blackwell. This federal program does not provide any extra protection beyond that offered by the land owner. The National Park Service's designation of the gorge as a National Natural Landmark notes that it "contains superlative scenery, geological and ecological value, and is one of the finest examples of a deep gorge in the eastern United States."cite web | url = http://www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/Registry/USA_Map/States/Pennsylvania/NNL/PCG/index.cfm |title = National Natural Landmark: Pine Creek Gorge |publisher = National Park Service | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 ]

The gorge is also protected by the state of Pennsylvania as the convert|12163|acre|adj=on Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area, which is the second largest State Natural Area in Pennsylvania.cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/oldgrowth/pinecreek.aspx | title = Pine Creek Gorge | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources] cite book |title = Natural Pennsylvania: Exploring State Forest Natural Areas |last = Fergus | first = Charles |date = 2002 |publisher = Stackpole Books |location = Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania | pages = pp. 189–193 | id = ISBN 0-8117-2038-1 ] Within this area, convert|699|acre of Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks are designated a State Park Natural Area. cite web| url=http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/natural/naturalareas.aspx| title = Natural Areas | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 | publisher= Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources] The state Natural Area runs along Pine Creek from Darling Run in the north (just below Ansonia) to Jerry Run in the south (just above Blackwell). It is approximately convert|12|mi long and convert|2|mi wide, with state forest roads providing all of the western border and part of the eastern border.cite map | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/FORESTRY/stateforests/images/fd16_map.pdf |scale = 1 inch is 2 miles | title = Tioga State Forest | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry Retrieved on September 30, 2008. ]

Within the park, Pine Creek and the walls of the gorge "visible from the opposite shoreline" are also protected by the state as a Pennsylvania Scenic River.cite web| url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/rivers/scenicrivers/locationmap.aspx | title = Pennsylvania Scenic Rivers Program: Location Map | accessmonthday = September 30 | accessyear=2008 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ] In 1968 Pine Creek was one of only 27 rivers originally designated as eligible to be included in the National Wild and Scenic River system, and one of only eight specifically mentioned in the law establishing the program. Before Pine Creek could be included in the federal program, the state enacted its State Scenic Rivers Act, then asked that Pine Creek be withdrawn from the national designation. However, there was much local opposition to its inclusion, based at least partly on mistaken fears that protection would involve seizure of private property and restricted access. Eventually this opposition was overcome, but Pennsylvania did not officially include it as one of its own state Scenic and Wild Rivers until November 25, 1992. The state treated Pine Creek as if it were a state scenic river between 1968 and 1992. It protected the creek from dam-building and water withdrawals for power plants, and added public access points to reduce abuse of private property.cite book | title = Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: A Natural & Human History |last = Dillon | first = Chuck |edition = 2nd Edition |publisher = Pine Creek Press |location = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |date = 2006 | chapter = Protection for Pine Creek | pages = pp. 51–52 (No ISBN)] cite book | last = Owlett | first = Steven E. | title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge | date = 1993 | chapter = A Wild and Scenic River? | pages = pp. 75, 76, 80, 82, 84 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Interprint | location = Petaluma, California | id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2 ]

Geology and climate

Although the rock formations exposed in Leonard Harrison State Park and the Pine Creek Gorge are at least 300 million years old, the gorge itself formed only about 20,000 years ago, in the last ice age. Pine Creek had flowed northeasterly until then, but was dammed by rocks, soil, ice, and other debris deposited by the receding Laurentide Continental Glacier. The dammed creek formed a lake near the present village of Ansonia, and the lake's glacial meltwater overflowed the debris dam, which caused a reversal of the flow of Pine Creek. The creek flooded to the south and quickly carved a deep channel on its way to the West Branch Susquehanna River. cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/parkguides/pg05.pdf | title = Pennsylvania Trail of Geology, Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Geologic Features of Interest (Park Guide 5) |last = McGlade |first = William G. | accessdate = 2008-07-30 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources |format= PDF ]

The park is on the Allegheny Plateau, which formed in the Alleghenian orogeny some 300 million years ago, when Gondwana (modern Europe and Africa) collided with North America, forming Pangaea. cite book |title= The Geology of Pennsylvania |last= Shultz |first= Charles H. (Editor) |year= 1999 |publisher= Pennsylvania Geological Society and Pittsburgh Geological Society |location= Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania |isbn= 0-8182-0277-0 | pages = 372–374, 391, 399, 818 ] While the gorge and its surroundings appear mountainous, these are not true mountains: instead years of erosion have made this a dissected plateau, causing the "mountainous" terrain seen today. The hardest of the ancient rocks are on top of the ridges, while the softer rocks eroded away forming the valleys.cite book | last = Owlett | first = Steven E. | title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge | year = 1993 | chapter = Of Brachiopods and Glaciers | pages = pp. 27, 28, 31, 34, 36 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Interprint | location = Petaluma, California | id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2 ]

The land on which Leonard Harrison State Park sits has undergone tremendous change over the last 400 million years. It was once part of the coastline of a shallow sea that covered a great portion of what is now North America. The high mountains to the east of the sea gradually eroded, causing a buildup of sediment made up primarily of clay, sand and gravel. Tremendous pressure on the sediment caused the formation of the rocks that are found today in the Pine Creek drainage basin: sandstone, shale, conglomerates, limestone, and coal.cite book | last = Shaw | first = Lewis C. | others = Prepared in Cooperation with the United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey | title = Pennsylvania Gazetteer of Streams Part II (Water Resources Bulletin No. 16) | month = June | year = 1984 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources | location = Harrisburg, PA |page = p. 167 (No ISBN)]

Five major rock formations are present in Leonard Harrison State Park, from the Devonian and Carboniferous periods. The youngest of these, which forms the highest points in the park and along the gorge, is the early Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation, a gray conglomerate that may contain sandstone, siltstone, and shale, as well as anthracite coal. Low-sulfur coal was once mined at three locations within the Pine Creek watershed. Below this is the late Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation, which is formed with grayish-red shale, siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerate. Millstones were once carved from the exposed sections of this conglomerate. Together the Pottsville and Mauch Chunk formations are some convert|300|ft thick.

Next below these is the late Devonian and early Mississippian Huntley Mountain Formation, which is made of relatively soft grayish-red shale and olive-gray sandstone. This is relatively hard rock and forms many of the ridges. Below this is the red shale and siltstone of the Catskill Formation, about convert|760|ft thick and some 375 million years old. This layer is relatively soft and easily eroded, which helped to form the Pine Creek Gorge. Cliffs formed by the Huntley Mountain and Catskill formations are visible north of the park at Barbour Rock. The lowest and oldest layer is the Lock Haven Formation, which is gray to green-brown siltstone and shale over 400 million years old. It forms the base of the gorge, contains marine fossils, and is up to convert|600|ft thick. cite book |title= Roadside Geology of Pennsylvania |last= Van Diver |first= Bradford B. |year= 1990 |publisher= Mountain Press Publishing Company |location= Missoula, Montana |isbn= 0-87842-227-7 |pages= pp. 31–35, 113–115 ] cite web| url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/map61/tiadaghton.pdf | title = Atlas of Preliminary Geologic Quadrangle Maps of Pennsylvania: Tiadaghton | accessdate = 2008-08-05 | author = Berg, T. M. |publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey | year = 1981 | format = PDF] cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/map/pdfs/map067_tabloid_exp.pdf |title = Map 67: Tabloid Edition Explanation |publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey |format = PDF |accessdate = 2008-06-03]

The Allegheny Plateau has a continental climate, with occasional severe low temperatures in winter and average daily temperature ranges of 20 °F (11 °C) in winter and 26 °F (14 °C) in summer. [cite web| url = http://climate.met.psu.edu/data/ncdc_pa.pdf | title = Climate of Pennsylvania | publisher = Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State Climatologist | accessdate = 2008-04-12] Nearby Wellsboro has average high temperatures ranging from a maximum of convert|81|F in July to a low of convert|32|F in January, while average low temperatures range from a maximum of convert|55|F in July to a low of convert|13|F in January and February. Monthly precipitation averages in Wellsboro range from a high of convert|3.79|in|mm in June to a low of convert|1.71|in|mm in January and February. [cite web | url = http://www.weather.com/outlook/recreation/outdoors/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/16901 |title = Average Weather for Wellsboro, PA | publisher = The Weather Channel | accessdate = 2008-08-05 ] The mean annual precipitation for the Pine Creek watershed is 36 to 42 inches (914 to 1,067 mm).

Ecology

Descriptions from early explorers and settlers give some idea of what the Pine Creek Gorge was like before it was clearcut. The forest was up to 85 percent hemlock and white pine, with the rest hardwoods..cite book | title = Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: A Natural & Human History |last = Dillon | first = Chuck |edition = 2nd Edition |publisher = Pine Creek Press |location = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |year = 2006 | chapter = Wealth of the Forests: Lumber | pages = pp. 23–24 (No ISBN)] Many animal species that are now vanished inhabited the area. A herd of 12,000 American Bison migrated along the West Branch Susquehanna River in 1773. Pine Creek was home to large predators such as Wolves, Lynx, Wolverines, Panthers, Fishers, foxes and Bobcats, all save the last three now locally extinct. The area had herds of Elk and deer, and large numbers of Black Bears, River Otters, and Beavers. In 1794, two of the earliest white explorers to travel up Pine Creek found so many rattlesnakes on its banks that they had to sleep in their canoe. Further upstream, insects forced them to do the same.

The virgin forests cooled the land and streams. Centuries of accumulated organic matter in the forest soil caused slow percolation of rainfall into the creeks and runs, so they flowed more evenly year-round.cite book | title = Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: A Natural & Human History |last = Dillon | first = Chuck |edition = 2nd Edition |publisher = Pine Creek Press |location = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |year = 2006 | chapter = Human Issues Affecting the Stream | pages = p. 46 (No ISBN)] Pine Creek was home to large numbers of fish, including trout, but dams downstream on the Susquehanna River have eliminated the shad, salmon, [Early accounts of "salmon" in Pine Creek may have been referring to shad.] and eels once found here. The clearcutting of forests destroyed habitat for animals, but there was also a great deal of hunting, with bounties paid for large predators.

tate Natural Area and wildlife

While Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks and parts of the surrounding Tioga State Forest are now the Pine Creek Gorge National Natural Landmark, it is their status as part of a Pennsylvania State Natural Area that provides the strongest protection for them. Within this Natural Area, all logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling are prohibited, and only foot trail access is allowed.cite book | last = Owlett | first = Steven E. | title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge | year = 1993 | chapter = Epilogue | pages = pp. 97–98 | edition = 1st Edition | publisher = Interprint | location = Petaluma, California | id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2 ] In 1988 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, precursor to the DCNR, described it as "... about 95% State owned, unroaded, and designated the Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area. It is a place of unique geologic history and contains some rare plant communities, an old growth hemlock stand, ... active bald eagle nest [s] ... and is a major site of river otter reintroduction. Departmental policy is protection of the natural values of the Canyon from development and overuse, and restoration of the area to as near a natural condition as possible."

The gorge has over 225 species of wildflowers, plants and trees,cite book | title = Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon: A Natural & Human History |last = Dillon | first = Chuck |edition = 2nd Edition |publisher = Pine Creek Press |location = Wellsboro, Pennsylvania |year = 2006 | chapter = The Forest Today | pages = pp. 34–36 (No ISBN)] with scattered stands of old growth forest on some of its steepest walls. The rest of the gorge is covered with thriving second growth forest that can be over one hundred years old. However, since clearcutting, nearly 90 percent of the forest land has burnt at least once. Typical south-facing slopes here have Mountain Laurel below oak and hickory trees, while north-facing slopes tend to have ferns below hemlocks and hardwoods. Large chestnuts and Black Cherry can also be found.

The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is known for its fall foliage, and Leonard Harrison State Park is a popular place to observe the colors, with the first three weeks of October as the best time to see the leaves in their full color. Red leaves are found on Red Maple, red oak, and Black Cherry, while orange and yellow leaves are on Black Walnut, Sugar Maple, aspen, birch, Tulip Poplar and Chestnut Oak, and brown leaves are from beech, white oak, and Eastern Black Oak trees. Plants of "special concern" in Pennsylvania that are found in the gorge include Jacob's ladder, wild pea, and hemlock parsley.

There are over 40 species of mammals in the Pine Creek Gorge. Leonard Harrison State Park's extensive forest cover makes it a habitat for "big woods" wildlife, including White-tailed Deer, Black Bear, Wild Turkey, Red and Gray Squirrels. Less common creatures include Bobcats, Coyote, Fishers, River Otters, and Timber Rattlesnakes. There are over 26 species of fish in Pine Creek, including trout, suckers, Fallfish, and Rock Bass. Other aquatic species include crayfish and frogs.

Several species have been reintroduced to the gorge. White-tailed Deer were imported from Michigan and released throughout Pennsylvania to reestablish what had once been a thriving population. The current population of deer in Pennsylvania are descended from the original stock introduced beginning in 1906, after the lumberman had moved out of the area.cite web | url = http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=460&Q=174562& | title = Abbreviated History of Pennsylvania’s White-Tailed Deer Management | accessdate = 2008-08-03 | publisher = Pennsylvania Game Commission] The deer population has grown so much that today they exceed their carrying capacity in many areas. River Otters were successfully reintroduced in 1983 and now breed in the gorge. Despite the fears of anglers, their diet is only 5 percent trout.

Fishers, medium-sized weasels, were reintroduced to Pine Creek Gorge as part of an effort to establish a healthy population of Fishers in Pennsylvania. Prior to the lumber era, Fishers were numerous throughout the forests of Pennsylvania.cite web | url = http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/wildlife/notes/pdf/fisher.pdf | title = Fisher | accessdate = 2008-08-03 | author = Serfass, Tom; Mitcheltree, Denise | publisher = Pennsylvania Game Commission | format = PDF] They are generalized predators and will hunt any smaller creatures in their territory, including porcupines.cite web | url = http://www.predatorconservation.org/predator_info/forest_predators/learn_more/fisherscriptexcerpt.html | title = From the Wild Bunch: The Fisher | accessdate = 2008-08-03 | publisher = Predator Conservation Alliance ] Elk have been reintroduced west of the gorge in Clinton County and occasionally wander near the west rim of the canyon. Coyotes have come back on their own. Invasive insect species in the gorge include Gypsy Moths, which eat all the leaves off trees, especially oaks, and Hemlock Woolly Adelgids, which weaken and kill hemlocks. Invasive plant species include Purple Loosestrife and Japanese Knotweed.

Important Bird Area

Leonard Harrison State Park is part of Important Bird Area #28, which encompasses convert|31790|acre|ha of both publicly and private held land. State managed acreage accounts for 68 percent of the total area and includes Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks and the surrounding Tioga State Forest lands. The Pennsylvania Audubon Society has designated all convert|585|acre|ha of Leonard Harrison State Park as part of the IBA, which is an area designated as a globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations.cite web | url = http://pa.audubon.org/IBA_Consplans/IBA28.pdf | title = Pennsylvania Important Bird Area #28 | author= Doug Kibbe | month = May | year = 2004| accessdate = 2008-06-17 | publisher = Pennsylvania Audubon Society | format = PDF]

Ornithologists and bird watchers have recorded a total of 128 species of birds in the IBA. Several factors contribute to the high total of bird species observed: there is a large area of forest in the IBA, as well as great habitat diversity, with convert|343|acre|ha of open water that is used by many of the birds, especially Bald Eagles. The location of the IBA along the Pine Creek Gorge also contributes to the diverse bird populations.

In addition to Bald Eagles, which live in the IBA year round and have successfully established a breeding population there, the IBA is home to Belted Kingfishers, Scarlet Tanagers, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Common Mergansers, Blue and Green Heron, Hermit Thrushes, and Wood Ducks. Large numbers of Ospreys use the gorge during spring and fall migration periods. The woodlands are inhabited by the Ruffed Grouse, Pennsylvania's state bird, and Wild Turkeys. Swainson's Thrush breeds in the IBA and the Northern Harrier breeds and overwinters in Pine Creek Gorge.

A variety of warblers is found in Leonard Harrison State Park. The Pennsylvania Audubon Society states that Pine Creek Gorge is "especially rich in warbler species, including Pine, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Black-and-white."cite book |last= Audubon Pennsylvania |authorlink= National Audubon Society |coauthors= Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania |title= Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail |year= 2004 |url= http://web1.audubon.org/trailMaps/trail-guide/site.asp?id=51 |format= Searchable database |accessdate= 2008-07-30|location= Harrisburg, Pennsylvania |pages= p. 26 "Note": This guide is available both as a book (page number given) and website (URL given). ] Many of these smaller birds are more often heard than seen as they keep away from the trails and overlooks.

Recreation

Trails

Leonard Harrison State Park is a destination for avid hikers, with some challenging hikes in and around the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. The park has convert|4.6|mi|km|1 of trails that feature very rugged terrain, pass close to steep cliffs, and can be slick in some areas. In 2003, the DCNR reported that 37,775 people used the trails in the park, and another 24,407 bicycled in it.

*Overlook Trail is a convert|0.6|mi|km|1|adj=on path to Otter View, a vista looking to the south. This moderately difficult loop passes reminders of the CCC's work in the park, including a plantation of Red Pines and an old incinerator.
*Turkey Path is a difficult trail, convert|2|mi|km|1 long (down and back), that follows Little Fourmile Run down the side of the canyon, descending over convert|800|ft to Pine Creek and the rail trail at the bottom of the gorge. It was originally a mule drag used to haul timber to the creek.cite book
last = Owlett
first = Steven E.
title = Seasons Along The Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge
year = 1993
chapter = A Pine Creek Odyssey
pages = pp. 12–13
edition = 1st Edition
publisher = Interprint
location = Petaluma, California
id = ISBN 0-9635905-0-2
] There are several waterfalls on the trail, which passes through an environmentally sensitive area and is on a steep slope. Hikers are encouraged to remain on the path to reduce erosion and protect fragile plant life along the trail. In 2006 a hiker who had left the path slipped near a waterfall and fell to his death. [cite news | title = Marine dies at Pennsylvania Grand Canyon |last = Robinson|first = Bryan G. |date = June 23, 2006 |publisher = "The Wellsboro Gazette" |url =http://www.tiogapublishing.com/articles/2006/06/23/news/news02.txt |accessdate = 2008-07-27 ]

A vista at the halfway point on Turkey Path was constructed in 1978 by the Youth Conservation Corps. Hand rails, steps and observation decks were added to the path in 1993 by the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps. The park website classifies it as a "down and back trail" since there is no bridge across Pine Creek. However, there is also a Turkey Path from Colton Point State Park on the west rim of the gorge down to a point on Pine Creek just upstream of the end of this trail. According to Owlett and the DCNR Pine Creek Rail Trail map, the creek can be forded with care when the water is low, and the Turkey Path connects the two parks.cite map |title = A Public Use Map For Pine Creek Rail Trail | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources |location = Harrisburg, Pennsylvania |year = 2007 |month = December | |scale = 1" = 2 miles]

*Pine Creek Rail Trail is a convert|63.4|mi|adj=on rail trail from Wellsboro Junction, just north of Wellsboro, south through the Pine Creek Gorge to Jersey Shore: convert|1|mi|km|1 of this trail is in Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks. A 2001 article in "USA Today" said the scenic beauty of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania made the trail one of "10 great places to take a bike tour" in the world. cite news|title= 10 great places to take a bike tour |first= Laura |last= Bly |date= July 27, 2001 |page = 3D |publisher = USA Today ] cite web|url=http://www.wellsboropa.com/pages/welcome/pa_grand_canyon.php |title = The Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce: Pennsylvania Grand Canyon | publisher = Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce |accessdate = 2008-02-12]

Camping and picnics

Camping is a popular pastime at Leonard Harrison State Park, with 3,511 persons using the rustic camping facilities in 2003. The DCNR classifies camping facilities as "rustic" if they do not have flush toilets or showers. The state has since renovated the park camping area, building modern bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, and no longer considers it "rustic".cite web | url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/news/newsreleases/2005/1105-ggiigrants.htm | title = Governor Rendell Says PA. Investing in the Future with Environmental Grants; Safeguarding Communities, Attracting Business Investment: 140 Critical Projects in 50 Counties First to Receive Funding | date = November 2, 2005 | publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources | work = Press Release | accessdate = 2008-08-06] There are now updated electric sites for RV campers as well. The campground has picnic tables and fire rings. The park has almost 100 picnic tables for use; seven of these tables are in shelters. The park hosted some 29,150 picnickers in 2003.

Hunting, fishing, and whitewater

Hunting is permitted on about convert|250|acre of Leonard Harrison State Park: hunters are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania State Game Commission. The common game species are Ruffed Grouse, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Wild Turkey, White-tailed Deer, and Black Bear; however, the hunting of Groundhogs is prohibited. Additional acres of forested woodlands are available for hunting on the grounds of the adjacent Tioga State Forest.

Fishing is permitted at the state park, though anglers must descend the Turkey Path to reach Pine Creek. This has been designated as approved trout waters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which means the waters will be stocked with trout and may be fished during trout season.cite web | author= Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) | url= http://www.fish.state.pa.us/water/county/pfbcmaps/tiog.htm | title= 2008 PFBC County Maps - Tioga County | accessdate= 2008-08-02] Other species of fish found in Pine Creek include Smallmouth Bass and some panfish. Several small trout streams are accessible from within the park, which had 2,597 anglers in 2003. Historically, fishermen of note on the stretch of Pine Creek in the park include President Theodore Roosevelt and Pennsylvania Governor William A. Stone.

Edward Gertler writes in "Keystone Canoeing" that Pine Creek "is possibly Pennsylvania's most famous canoe stream" and attributes this partly to the thousands who decide to boat on it after they "peer into Pine Creek's spectacular abyss from the overlooks of Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks".cite book
last= Gertler
first= Edward
title= Keystone Canoeing: A Guide to Canoeable Waters of Eastern Pennsylvania
year= 1985
edition= 1st Edition
publisher= Seneca Press
location= Silver Spring, Maryland
id= ISBN 0-9605908-2-X
pages= pp. 304–308
] The park contains convert|1|mi of Pine Creek, which is Class 1 to Class 2 whitewater here. Boaters do not normally start or end their run in the park, which has no launches: it is part of the convert|16.8|mi|adj=on trip from Ansonia (Marsh Creek) south to Blackwell (Babb Creek).

Nearby state parks

Leonard Harrison State Park is mostly in Shippen Township, with a small portion in Delmar Township north of Stowell Run. It is convert|10|mi west of Wellsboro at the western terminus of Pennsylvania Route 660.cite map |author= Wayne T. Fletcher |publisher = Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources |title = Leonard Harrison & Colton Point State Parks |url = http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/STATEPARKS/PARKS/coltonpoint/coltonpoint_mini.pdf |year = 2002 |month= November |scale = 1" = 800 feet |accessdate = 2008-07-25] The following state parks are within convert|30|mi|km|0 of the park:cite web
last = Michels
first = Chris
year = 1997
url = http://www2.nau.edu/~cvm/latlongdist.html
title = Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation
publisher = Northern Arizona University
accessdate = 2008-04-23
] [cite map |scale = 1:65,000| publisher= Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Research, Geographic Information Division
url= ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/GHS/Roadnames/tioga_GHSN.PDF
title= "2007 General Highway Map Tioga County Pennsylvania"
accessdate= 2007-07-28
"Note: shows Leonard Harrison State Park"
] Panorama simple




fullwidth = 6387
fullheight = 1279
caption = Panoramic view of the Pine Creek Gorge from the main vista terrace in Leonard Harrison State Park
height = 300

References

External links

*
*
* [http://www.williamsport.org/visitors/rail_trail.htm Pine Creek Rail Trail]


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  • Little Pine State Park — Geobox Protected Area name = Little Pine State Park native name = other name = other name1 = category local = Pennsylvania State Park category iucn = III image caption = Little Pine Creek Lake, from the dam etymology type = Named for etymology =… …   Wikipedia


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