October 19: Leonard Harrison State Park

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Pine Creek Gorge with Pine Creek and Pine Creek Rail Trail, in Tioga County, Pennsylvania

Leonard Harrison State Park is a 585-acre (237 ha) Pennsylvania state park near Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in the United States. It is on the east rim of the 800-foot (240 m) deep Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, carved by Pine Creek. The park is known for its vistas, hiking, fishing, hunting, whitewater boating, and camping. Native Americans used the Pine Creek Path; later used by lumbermen, it became the course of a railroad from 1883 to 1988, and the 63.4-mile (102.0 km) Pine Creek Rail Trail in 1996. The gorge, named a National Natural Landmark in 1968, is protected as a Pennsylvania State Natural Area and Important Bird Area, while Pine Creek is a state Scenic and Wild River. Although the gorge was clearcut in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is now covered by second growth forest, thanks in part to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The park is named for Leonard Harrison, a Wellsboro lumberman who cut the timber, then donated the land to the state in 1922. The park attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for its « Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks » list, which praised its « spectacular vistas and a fabulous view of Pine Creek Gorge ». (more…)

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