Thursday, September 1, 2016

Miners Run

The McIntyre Wild Area of Pennsylvania’s Loyalsock State Forest occupies 7,500 acres on the Allegheny Plateau; four streams tumble from the edge of the plateau through steep-sided gorges. The streams fall steeply and contain waterfalls of varying heights.

McIntyre has an interesting history. Bituminous coal underlay the western portion and attracted investors, including Mark Twain’s father-in-law, Jervis Langdon. Serious mining began in 1870 and continued until the mid-1880s; sporadic mining continued into the 1930s. At its peak, the village of McIntyre had a population of 1,500, 300 houses, a school, church and numerous other buildings as well as an inclined plane to carry coal from the mines to the railroad along Lycoming Creek. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry acquired the coal company’s land in the mid-20th Century; now all that remains of the mining era is the cemetery, stone foundations of houses and other structures, and old roads and railroad grades. A vintage map of the village still exists –

The eastern portion of the McIntyre plateau was owned by the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Co. and logged between 1913 and 1919 with the logs being removed over a system of logging railroads and hauled by the logging railroad to the long-gone town of Laquin. The old railroad grades can still be followed and make good hiking trails. These lands became part of the state forest system in the early 1930s.

Except for the road climbing the side of the plateau to the site of the village of McIntyre, the wild area has no drivable roads and warrants its official status as a state forest wild area.

On the plateau a group of wetlands and old beaver ponds are the source of Miners Run. From the most distant of those wetlands Miners Run flows gradually downhill for two and a half miles then enters the gorge it has created over the centuries and plunges downhill over a series of waterfalls; none extremely high, but all very pretty. Since the stream is best experienced by walking uphill this is the route to be followed here. The summer of 2016 has been hot and dry and the waterfalls are far from their best, but pretty nonetheless –

The Miners Run gorge is rugged, the wet rocks are extremely slippery, and extraction of a person with a broken leg, several broken ribs, a back problem, or other incapacitating injury would very difficult in several areas – and there is no cell phone service.  

During higher flows some of the waterfalls are spectacular –

Well worth visiting.

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