Luzerne County’s Frances Slocum State Park is the latest victim in the battle to save our public lands from the onslaught of pipelines and energy infrastructure that now threatens two state parks in Carbon County (Hickory Run and Beltzville) and numerous other public lands along the proposed route of the PennEast pipeline.
If approved, the pipeline will slice through the western portion of Frances Slocum State Park and continue for another 0.6 miles through wooded land just outside the park boundary between Green Road and Carverton Road in Kingston Township. Sadly, this is one of the most beautiful sections of the park, heavily used by hikers and mountain bikers because of its network of well-maintained trails and unspoiled scenery.
The pipeline’s 100-foot-wide construction right of way (the width of a six-lane highway) will require the removal of approximately 10 acres of trees within and around the park. Hiking and bike trails can be restored, but the surrounding forest, which is what makes this park such a special place, will never be restored to its pre-construction condition.
Frances Slocum State Park is known for its high-quality forest and clusters of mature and old-growth trees, some of which are more than a hundred years old. These trees grew to maturity under climatic and environmental conditions that no longer exist in our region. Once removed, the chances of restoring anything even remotely resembling a mature forest are virtually nil.
Frances Slocum State Park is an oasis of high-quality forest and open space in one of the fastest growing counties in the state, only 10 miles from the burgeoning suburbs of Wilkes-Barre. Area residents who object to the scarring of our public lands for private gain should use the public participation process to make their voices heard.