Our fourth Keep it Wild hike highlighted a truly amazing and imminently threatened area. Sullivan Mountain on Old Loggers Path (OLP) was our destination. We started on Yellow Dog Road and followed OLP as it wound around the mountain tops. The diversity of the area was as stunning as the views. Several crystal clear streams of the Rock Run watershed were crossed on our trek. We heard many warblers and other song birds. This section of the Loyalsock State Forest is included in the Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA’s). Red Ephs, Salamanders, Porcupines, and pitcher plants highlighted the bio diversity of this hike. Impressive rock formations dotted the landscape and we were afforded sweeping views of the valleys on the summit of Sullivan Mountain. The mountain top walk was 7.7 miles and while it was mostly flat, it is still Pennsylvania hiking (rocks, roots, and ruts).
A total of fourteen people joined us for this hike. We had some new faces in the crowd and a surprise visit from Jeff Mitchell. Jeff wrote several books about hiking and exploring Pennsylvania. “Hiking the Endless Mountains: Exploring the Wilderness of Northeastern Pennsylvania” is one of his books that our committee uses to plan our hikes and it was fitting for our group to walk these trails with him.
From the summit of Sullivan Mountain, we could see the recently completed wind farm in the distance. Standing on a mountain top that may be developed and industrialized for natural gas and watching the wind turbines turn on a nearby ridge really brought home the stark contrast of renewable energy and the realities of fossil fuel extraction. Yes, they both have an environmental footprint, but there is no comparison in the long term loss of core forest, stream impact, air quality, and noise pollution.
This area in the Loyalsock Forest IS a special place. Let’s keep it that way.