PIKE COUNTY - Pike County, Pennsylvania is a unique place blessed with abundant natural resources. The county’s Scenic Rural Character Preservation program (SRCP) emerged in 2006 as a means of maintaining the county’s high quality of life through smart planning and active conservation geared toward balanced solutions to increasing population pressures.
One of the great successes to come out of the SRCP program is protection of the 708-acre Polatnick property in Westfall Township. It is a heavily forested ridgeline parcel with pockets of wetlands and the headwaters for Mill Rift (Bushkill) Creek, designated a Class A Exceptional Value wild trout stream.
Over two miles of the Bushkill Creek and its tributaries flow through wetlands and hemlock bottoms on the property en route to the Delaware River. There are three unnamed tributary streams that begin on or near the property and feed into the Bushkill.
Its permanent protection creates a contiguous green corridor known as Stairway Ridge. A trail allows people to enjoy Pike’s beautiful woodland landscapes while hiking from Milford Beach through Grey Towers, the Milford Experimental Forest, and the County Park, ending on the Polatnick property, now within the Buckhorn tract of the Delaware State Forest.
Together with the Buckhorn Tract, State Game Lands 209 and other adjacent protected land, the Stairway Ridge property forms a 19,000-acre block of contiguous forestland.
The project is an example of SRCP funds at work—protecting Pike County’s water, flora and fauna, while expanding outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. However, the initial Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program was limited to a period of 10 years, which time frame has now passed.
To help maintain the high quality of life that we all enjoy in Pike County, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, the local land trust serving Pike and Wayne counties in PA and Sullivan and Delaware counties in NY, would like to hear what you think about continuing local conservation, planning and land protection efforts.
Pike County residents are invited to visit
www.delawarehighlands.org/pike-county-survey to complete a brief online survey.