North Central Forest & West Branch Susquehanna River

The largest and most contiguous stretches of forestlands are within the High Allegheny Plateau of north central Pennsylvania. Here, the highest elevations of the plateau typically rise above 2,000 feet.

This region represents the headwaters of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Although some streams are degraded, largely by coal mining, several sub-watersheds are of high quality and currently are refuges for aquatic life.

Key Features

  • Remote areas with fewer roads and towns on average; much of the land is state forest and game lands
  • Numerous exceptional-value streams and several medium-sized streams that represent viable aquatic ecosystems
  • High concentration of coniferous trees

Conservation Targets

  • Forest priorities totaling more than 870,000 acres
  • 34 occurrences of globally-rare plants, invertebrates and vertebrates
  • 58 occurrences of important natural communities, including old-growth forest and hemlock swamps
  • 11 Biological Diversity Areas totaling 16,500 acres and including rare wetlands (e.g. Tamarack Swamp), scrub oak barrens and other terrestrial habitats of special note
  • 702 miles of streams representing important aquatic communities (such as Kettle Creek)

West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed
Tamarack Swamp
Kettle Creek


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