Game lands tour to be held
On Oct. 6 Rich Lupinsky, land manager for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will be conducting a tour of State Game Lands #12 and #36, which are located in the most remote area of Bradford County. These two adjoining game lands consist of 43,408 acres.
Automobiles will be allowed to begin tour at 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.. If care is used, the roads are in good enough condition for most vehicles.
A tour guide will be given to the driver of each vehicle. This guide, which is becoming a collector's item, contains new stories and pictures each year on the history of both the mountain and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
This year's guide will have information on Woodrow Wilson, unofficial day spent as a fish warden in Pennsylvania. At the time Wilson was a candidate for the office of President of the United States.
The tour, which is approximately 30-miles-long, begins at the top of Wheelerville Mountain along Route 154. After receiving the tour guide, you will travel on the CCC Road (built by the Civilian Conservation Corps) to Sunfish Pond and on to the old town site of Carbon Run; from there, to the Barclay Cemetery and the town site of Barclay; after turning south, the tour continues to where the town known as the Foot of the Plane was located; here, turn west to where the town of Laquin was located and then up the S&NY Railroad Grade to Wheelerville and Route 154.
The tour goes by the old game commission's refuge site at Sunfish Pond. Picnic tables are located in the park so be sure to pack a lunch or snack and make a stop here. The bathrooms at Sunfish pond will be open.
The history of the Barclay Mountain began when coal was discovered in the area. In 1856, a railroad was completed to the coal mines, and the mining of coal began in earnest. The miners stayed on the mountain, and the town of Barclay was born, along with smaller towns such as Fall Creek, Graydon, Dublin, Long Valley, Carbon Run and the Foot of the Plane.
The tour goes by the Barclay Cemetery, where you will notice at that time, Catholics and Protestants were not buried in the same cemetery; however, the problem was solved by running a fence through the middle of the cemetery, allowing for the Catholics to be buried on one side of the fence and the Protestants on the other side. The names, dates and inscriptions, telling the stories of the hardships and epidemics that plagued the mountain folk, can still be read on many of the headstones, .
Information is also in the tour guide on what the hard working people on the mountain did for recreation, such as daring sled rides (three miles) down the mountain and the long walks back up the hill.
After the turn of the century, the Union Tanning Company began cutting their 15,000 acres of timber that lay to the west of Barclay and the lumbering town of Laquin was born. At its peak, the town had a population of 2,000 people living in 110 unpainted company homes.
After all the timber was harvested, the town of Laquin began to die and almost became a ghost town. Since most of the timber was harvested, the Pennsylvania Game Commission began buying the land that contained the mines and also the land that was timbered over. Game Refuge #12 was located in the area, with the refuge keeper's headquarters at Sunfish Pond.
The last part of the tour goes up the old Susquehanna and New York (S&NY) railroad grade to the town of Wheelerville. The railroad grade runs along the famous Schrader Creek, which is the top trout stream in the county, and you'll enjoy the same scenery that Woodrow Wilson marveled about.
October's weather can be fickle; however, the tour will be held rain or shine, and hopefully, the foliage of fall colors will be near their peak. So, mark your calendar, and plan to spend a day on the mountain. You'll be glad you did.
Article submitted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.