The West Branch of the Susquehanna River is the largest tributary system of the Susquehanna River. This river and its tributaries make this region an area of contrasts. Its northern tributaries, such as First Fork Sinnemahoning, upper Kettle Creek and Pine Creek, flow through expansive state forests and are some of the highest quality streams in the state. However, the southern tributaries, including the headwaters of the West Branch, Clearfield Creek and Red Moshannon, have long been impacted by resource extraction and acid mine drainage.
Governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and volunteers work to address these impacts with success. For example, the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning Creek was once a dead, red-stained stream, but is now stocked with trout. The West Branch of the Susquehanna Region is characterized by vast high plateaus cut by deep valleys and contains approximately 1.7 million acres of public land. This, more than any other factor, has helped to sustain the health and wild character of the region.