In the early 1990s, WPC purchased more than 9,400 acres in Clinton County to become an addition to Sproul State Forest. Tamarack Swamp is located within Sproul State Forest and contains one of the most unique natural habitats in Western Pennsylvania.
Unique Wetlands & Rare Species
The site is named for the unusual presence of tamarack (Larix laricina), the only native deciduous (annually leaf-shedding) conifer tree in Pennsylvania. Although the site is commonly referred to as a swamp, its main section is a non-glacial bog dominated by boreal conifers typically found in high-latitude northern forests. When North America’s last glacial period ended, most other boreal habitats retreated northward, while this unique wetland remained intact and today serves as one of the few examples of a black spruce, balsam fir and tamarack wetland in north central Pennsylvania.
Tamarack Swamp has been designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Pennsylvania.
This conservation site is reported as having the highest importance in the Clinton County Natural Heritage Inventory, due to its unique wetland communities and rare species of plants and insects. The swamp forms the headwaters of Drury Run, an “exceptional value,” high-gradient clearwater stream. At this special place, three plants classified as "rare" and two that are "endangered" have been recorded, including Hooker's orchid and small-floating manna-grass. In addition, there are five records for animals of special concern, all of which are dragonflies.
Tamarack Swamp has been designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Pennsylvania. Some of the bird species found at this site include golden-winged warbler, northern waterthrush, black-billed cuckoo, broad-winged hawk, alder flycatcher and great crested flycatcher.
A Plan of Action
Threats to this landscape include development on the uplands, oil and gas extraction, introduction of exotic species and unsustainable forest management. The conservation strategies for this area include maintaining the site as a natural area, buffering the wetland with forest, acquiring critical habitat that harbors species of special concern and conserving the upper Drury Run watershed.