Scenic USA - Pennsylvania

Swift Run

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Swift Run in the Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area - Troxelville, Pennsylvania

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     When the first European settlers arrived in Pennsylvania nearly 400 years ago, nearly all the land was forested. As the nation grew, timber was harvested and land cleared for farming. By the early 1900s, nearly all of Pennsylvania's forest had either Swift Run Salamander - Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area been cut or burned. During the last century careful forest management and reforestation projects have restored nearly 60 percent of Pennsylvania's timberland.
     Among Pennsylvania's two million acres of second growth forest a few pockets of original forest remain. Here in the center of the state, one of Pennsylvania's 27 National Natural Landmarks is made up of 250 acres of old growth hemlock, white pine and hardwoods. Surrounding a picturesque Swift Run, the Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area is one of those rare, uncut tracts of original forest. Hemlocks, some nearing 350 years old, measure an incredible 40 inches in diameter at chest height. Rock Springs Falls - Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area
     Surrounded by the Bald Eagle State Forest, the Snyder Middleswarth preserve was part of a land purchase in 1902. By 1921, the governor designated the area as Pennsylvania's ninth state park. Today, the area has lost its state park status, but coupled up with the adjacent Tall Timbers Natural Area, the Snyder County preserve still offers picnic sites, camping areas and hiking trails, all surrounding the winding Swift Run.
     Labeled as one of Snyder County's best kept secrets, the Rock Springs Picnic Area offers a large picnic pavilion and rest rooms. Although there are no signs here, a well worn path leads to a footbridge where the curious will take a left turn and head up to a cascading Rock Spring Falls (inset). In this county of covered bridges, picturesque farms and slow-moving Amish buggies, Swift Run and the preserve add to the area's scenic treasures.

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