Luzerne County

Bear Creek Camp

Bear Creek Township • 1880 Acres

Bear Creek Camp- a childrens summer camp owned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and well known for its community outreach programs and retreat facilities, has conserved a major portion of their property. Approximately 1,880 acres of ecologically significant habitat will be protected forever. Bear Creek Camp is located along the western edge of the Pocono Plateau in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County. The property has been conserved with the North Branch Land Trust and supported with grant funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Growing Greener II and Keystone 93 Program.

Enough can’t be said about the conservation values of Bear Creek Camp. Within the conservation area are miles of streams including Bear Creek and Little Bear Creek along with wetland communities such as spring seeps, vernal pools, acidic shrub swamps, rare red spruce swamps, and an extremely rare glacial kettle bog. Uplands include Appalachian oak forests, northern hardwood forests, globally rare scrub oak barrens, pitch pine-heath woodlands, and conifer forests. The diversity of natural plant communities occurring in Bear Creek Camp provides the ecological requirements for a plethora of plants and animals. Wildlife inventories confirmed this and discovered over forty plant and animal species of Special Concern in Pennsylvania that includes uncommon animals like bobcats, fishers, smooth green snakes, and the beautiful blue-spotted sunfish; globally rare moths such as the fly-poison borer moth and buck moth; bog copper and Arctic skipper butterflies; the only know occurrence in Luzerne County of a rare dragonfly called the beaver pond clubtail; and one of the few known populations of the elfin skimmer dragonfly. Rare, uncommon and unique plants include seven species of carnivorous plants including a PA threatened species; uncommon northern conifers such as red spruce, black spruce, tamarack, balsam fir; and rare plants like creeping snowberry and screw-stem.

Bear Creek Camp is a high conservation priority parcel of land as determined by the Pocono Conservation Landscape Initiative and fills an incredible gap in our goal to link conserved or portected landscapes.Bear Creek Camp is adjacent to thousands of acres of Pennsylvania State Game Lands and thousands of acres of lands conserved by North Branch Land Trust along with being in close proximity to the Natural Lands Trust Preserve.

Funding for the project came from a Community Partnerships Program Grant award to NBLT from the Pennsylvania department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Funding for these grants comes from Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key93), the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the Growing Greener Bond Fund and federal funding sources.

The Camp property under easement with North Branch Trust is open to the public for passive recreation activities from sunrise to sun set when camp is not in session, which is generally from mid-August to mid-June. Please check with the Camp staff in Bear Creek for actual dates.

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