Green Valley: Home to Mountain Lions?
The first day we visited David and his wife at his hunting preserve, we criss-crossed the forest on two ATVs (surprisingly quiet!). As we followed the narrow trails through the woods, he pulled to a stop before a large tree. He looked overhead, pointed and said, “He was 30 feet up when I saw him, and he leapt to the ground in one bound. Shortly after that I saw the female nearby!” Of course, he didn’t have a camera, but he swears there was no mistaking what he had seen.
When you understand where the Green Valley Preserve is located, you will understand why it is suitable habitat for catamounts (another name for these great cats). The Schrenk’s 508 acres in Porter Township, Pike County, border PA’s Delaware State Forest on the east and north with extensive state lands nearby to the south and west. There are very few roads or cabins, just trees, swamps, streams, and more trees. It is about as wild as any land you will find in northeast Pennsylvania.
The Schrenk brothers are successful builders in Bucks County, PA. They bought the hunting land in 1976, built one small cabin and later enlarged it to sleep 16. It has no electricity. Firewood provides all heat, and an elevated walkway connects the cabin to a “luxurious” outhouse. For over 25 years they have enjoyed this getaway from civilization, and have shared the preserve with their employees.
In 2002 they decided to ensure the preservation of this splendid forest by working with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy to draft a conservation easement that will guarantee its future as undivided forest. After a year of negotiation, the easement was signed and donated to the Conservancy in December 2003.
Like our other conservation easements, the terms of this agreement restricts future development. It does permit one additional residence within a ten-acre building site and expansion of the current cabin. The owners maintain the right to use the land for non-commercial recreational purposes including hiking, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, trapping and target shooting.
Unlike most of our easements, this one allows the use of motorized vehicles for maintenance, recreation, hunting, and emergency purposes. In short, ATV’s, snowmobiles, etc. are allowed on the existing trails; however, if we see signs of erosion or damage to vegetation caused by these vehicles, further use can be prohibited.
We were delighted to welcome the Schrenk brothers and their employees to our growing list of conservation landowners, and we thank them for their generous donation to our Monitoring Endowment Fund.