About the Forest
The Loyalsock consists of more than 114,000 acres of mostly intact forest including rare high elevation wetlands and two exceptional value streams (Pleasant Stream and Rock Run). It’s home to black bear, wild turkey, bobcats, native brook trout, and rare and endangered species such as the Northern Water Shrew. It serves as a nursery for migratory birds that come from the tropics. The State of Pennsylvania purchased the forest in the late 1800s after the area was decimated by logging and mining for iron and other precious metals. It is now managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), though Anadarko owns the mineral rights for most of the Clarence Moore Tract—putting this area at risk again from industry.
Acknowledging the history of this land and the people who have lived here before us is necessary. This history is complicated by the colonial legacy that we are part of, specifically; forced migration, misinformation, re-naming, and genocide. Our current understanding is that the forest was seasonally populated by Haudenosaunee (specifically Seneca People) as well as the Susquehanocks. The Munsee-Delaware Nation also briefly lived in this area.
What is at Stake?
Houston based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s proposed development would usher 26 well-pads, miles of pipelines, access roads, and other associated infrastructure to the area. This land is home to the threatened Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher who’s tree homes will be destroyed, the threatened Timber Rattlesnake whose dens could be cracked open and paved over and of course, black bears, who’s habitat will be fragmented, driving them from the wild area they once called home.
Loyalsock Campaign Kicks off
In the summer of 2013, following the tireless efforts of local community organizers, Marcellus Shale Earth First! joined a year-old campaign in Northeastern Pennsylvania to protect the “Clarence Moore Tract” of the Loyalsock State Forest from fracking development. On September 13, an activist under the moniker “Hellbender” (the Hellbender is a species of giant salamander endemic to eastern North America) ascended 60 feet up a cherry tree in the Loyalsock State Forest. This treesit was complemented by an office demo outside the APC regional headquarters in Williamsport, PA. Hellbender was in the canopy for thirty days providing the world with media updates detailing life in the tree and their commitments and perspectives on the proceedings around drilling in the forest.
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