CHERRY SPRINGS STATE PARK
Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago. Its dark skies make it a haven for astronomers. Named for the large stands of black cherry trees in the park, the 48-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehanna Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking. Cherry Springs Airport adjoins the campground.
In 1818, Jonathan Edgcomb made his second try at settling in the wilderness of Potter County. Along the Jersey Shore Pike, Edgcomb constructed a log house that became known as the Cherry Springs Hotel. The hotel was in an extremely remote spot and for years the only visitors, other than travelers on the pike, were wandering American Indians.
Over the years, the pine and hemlock in the Cherry Springs area was lumbered off and in their place grew hardwood trees like sugar maple and the park?s namesake, black cherry.
Civilian Conservation Corps Era
The Cherry Springs CCC Camp was one of ten CCC camps constructed in the Susquehannock Forest District. A forester directed the work to be done at each camp, such as clearing underbrush, opening trails, and constructing buildings and roads.
Additionally, Camp Elliott (named for District Forester Harry Elliott) was set up at Cherry Springs. This camp was not connected with the CCC camps, but was under the supervision of the former Department of Forests and Waters. Unemployed college boys primarily stayed at this camp, and one of their accomplishments was to construct the 40-acre airfield at Cherry Springs (under the former State Bureau of Aeronautics) during the summer of 1935.
There are 30 campsites and a sanitary dump station. All sites include a picnic table, lantern hanger and fire ring. Reservations are not accepted. The campground is open from the second Friday in April and closes in December.
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Cherry Springs State Park is
The picnic area is south of PA 44. A landmark in the area is the historic log pavilion built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939. This unusual pavilion features two large, covered dining areas with fireplaces, surrounded by log and chink walls. The areas are connected together by a covered breezeway that also contains picnic tables. Surrounding the pavilion are huge white pine and Norway spruce trees and an old apple orchard where picnic tables and charcoal grills are available.
A single-track mountain bike trail runs 15 miles from the state forest district office at Denton Hill to Patterson State Park and continues to Cherry Springs State Park. Trail maps are available at the Bureau of Forestry and Lyman Run State Park offices.
Cherry Springs State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs on a year-round basis. Through guided walks, hands-on activities, and campfire programs, visitors gain appreciation and awareness toward the natural and historical resources.
Weather permitting, a park educator or guest speaker presents public stargazing programs on the airport side of the park. Some of the programs are a partnership with the National Public Observatory as part of the Stars-n-Parks program. These free programs are available throughout the summer. Program schedules are published in the local paper and on the Cherry Springs State Park Web site.
Pennsylvania Wilds is two million acres of public lands for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting and exploration in northcentral Pennsylvania. Within the twelve-county region are; 27 state parks, eight state forest districts (1.3 million acres), 50 state game lands and Allegheny National Forest (500,000 acres). Highlights of the area are; elk watching, scenic Pennsylvania Route 6, Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon), the darkest skies in the east at Cherry Springs State Park, and hundreds of miles of backpacking trails, bike paths and trout fishing streams. Go to VisitPA.com Pennsylvania Wilds
Susquehannock State Forest is a 262,000-acre state forest and offers hiking, snowmobile trails, and a wilderness experience. 814-274-3600.