Exploring Vosburg Neck, Soon To Be One Of Our Three New State Parks.
I had never heard of Vosburg Neck until a few weeks ago. I now know Vosburg Neck is one of the three new Pennsylvania State Parks to be established in the next few years. The future park is located in Wyoming County, near Tunkhannock, about 68 miles north west of my home in Luzerne County. It was a clear and cool late October morning when I decided it would be a good day to visit the future park and enjoy the Fall foliage on the scenic 1 1/2 hour drive. .
Following Google Maps I left US Route 6 and drove through farmland on winding Vosburg Road. There were no signs for the future park, I drove to the entrance to Camp Lackawanna where a sign advised the road was private. . Vosburg Road was lined with cars, mostly trucks and other four wheel vehicles. There were parked by the many hunters in orange in the woods along the road. The air was filled with the sounds of gunfire and barking dogs. I realized it was pheasant hunting season and I didn’t wear orange. I wasn’t going to hike in this area. I checked my AllTrail Map and it showed me nearby hiking trails on a Howland Preserve.
I drove a mile or so to the Howland Preserve and parked in a lot next to an old red barn . Here I found maps and other information about the Howland Preserve and the future Vosburg Neck State Park. I learned the the North Branch Land Trust acquired the 669 acre wooded preserve from the Howland family. The tract is located on the famous Vosburg Oxbow of the Susquehanna River. The Land Trust was transferring ownership to the State to create Vosburg State park. I also learned the red barn was part of an apple farm and over a 150 years old.
A map showed exiting and proposed trails on the wooded tract and I decided to first take the short walk to the Susquehanna River. The early morning sun filtered through the large Norwegian pines planted by the Howland family.
I walked down the boat ramp to the Susquehanna River, one of the oldest rivers on earth. It was very low from the lack of rain we had this Summer. Vosburg Neck is named for the oxbow in the river. It was a beautiful and peaceful scene with the October colors on the hills across the river.
I left the river and decided to hike on the Walnut Loop Trail. It is a short .35 mile loop trail under mostly large black walnut trees. There were many dried up wildflowers and shrubs under the trees. The seeds of these plants attracted dozens of birds. I saw and heard many northern cardinals.
There were many of Carolina wrens filling the fields with their beautiful songs.
There were also large flocks of yellow-rumped warblers in the fields.
Many of the birds were attracted to the poison ivy berries.
Higher in the trees tops noisy red-bellied woodpeckers,
were also feeding on berries I was unable to identify
I walked the loop[ trail twice and as I was ending my walk on the trail saw this white tail deer,
and gray squirrel watching me walk by.
I next walked the River Trail which followed the river. Here I found an old forest of ancient oak, ash , maple, hickory and sweet birch trees. all cloaked in their Fall colors.
It was a nice trail with views of the Susquehanna River below.
There were still a few Fall flowers blooming on this frosty morning including, calico asters and
Common nettles also grew along the trail.
There were a few more flocks of migrating yellow-rumped warblers and
our year round resident black-capped chickadees in the trees of the older forest.
After about a half mile the trail ended at a bench overlooking the river.
However, my Alltrail map showed it continuing and looping back on a Canal Trail. I tried following the trail as shown on the map hoping to connect to the Canal Trail but I only found a thick undergrowth of thorns, stinging nettles, brambles and branches.
I also encountered a hunter with his dogs on , what looked like property of the Howland Preserve. Again, not wearing orange, and encountering some poison hemlock I decided to return on the River Trail.
I hiked back to the boat ramp and walked down to the river. The low water level exposed the river bed and I walked along the river reflecting on the Native Americans who walked along the river, or canoed on it’s waters, of possibly thousands of years.
I left the river and returned to the red barn and maps displayed there. I discovered there were trails on the other side of the road and followed,
The trail proceeded on a steady climb up a mostly oak old forest, with some maple, pine and birch trees.
There were old stone walls along the first portion of the trail.
The brilliant October sun lit up the leaves that remained on the trees creating a golden tunnel through the trees.
The ground was littered with the leaves that had fallen.
There were a lot of ferns along the trail. The eastern hay-scented ferns had turned yellow and brown,
but the intermediate wood ferns were still green, but would be changing soon.
The Christmas ferns along the trail will remain green all Winter providing some of the only color in the dull, gray Winter months ahead.
The only critters I encountered on this trail were, this eastern comma butterfly, and
large flocks of American robins, They were feeding in the trees all along the trail. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the critters I saw on my hike. Vosburg Neck State Park critters October 24 2022.
I followed the trail for about a mile. It was now near noon and I had to turn back since I wanted to drive back to my home in Hazle Township to attend the annual Skokoski family Pumpkin Carving Contest.
I walked back to the parking lot observing the beauty of the leaves, each so pretty and different, this is a white oak,
I finished my 5 1/2 mile hike and planned to return in the Spring. I think it would be a great place to see some migrating song birds. And I am sure there will be many wildflowers blooming along the trails. I also hope to visit many times once it officially becomes an addition to the other 124 great State Parks we have here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike Vosburg State Neck State Park October 24 2022,
“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”