In 2002, the Lehigh Gap Nature Center purchased over 750 acres on the Kittatinny Ridge to the west of the Lehigh River and in Lehigh Gap in eastern Pennsylvania. Much of the land was degraded by industrial pollution and is being restored using native, warm-season (prairie) grasses.
Other parts were a productive habitat already, including ponds, bottomland wetlands, a 2.5 mile riparian zone, forested slopes, cliffs, and savanna at the higher elevations. The refuge is valuable habitat for resident species, and a corridor and stopover site for migratory species, especially raptors and Neotropical songbirds. To appreciate the diversity of the wildlife at the refuge, review our lists of Wildlife Sightings.
The refuge provides wildlife habitat and is the site for wildlife research, carried out by Center staff and volunteers, and in conjunction with local colleges and universities. It also serves as our outdoor classroom to support our educational program. All of this is discussed in detail in our Master Site Plan.
Public access for recreational activities including hiking, wildlife watching, and photography is permitted. More information is available in our Trail and Access Guide.
The refuge occupies a 2.5 mile space on the Kittatinny between the Appalachian Trail and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail, which parallel each other, then intersect at Lehigh Gap near the Wildlife Center’s Osprey House.
The Lehigh Gap Nature Center is a non-profit conservation organization located in Lehigh Gap, PA, at the foot of the Kittatinny Ridge.
Our mission is to preserve wildlife and habitat through conservation, education, and research for the benefit of the earth and all its inhabitants.
Our conservation programs include the Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge. The Bake Oven Knob Hawk Watch is one of our many research programs. We also conduct many local educational programs, such as the Kittatinny Raptor Corridor Project.
We believe in the power of the citizen activist. We believe in the wisdom of the citizen scientist. We believe that knowledge and understanding build compassion. We believe concerned people working together can make a difference.
The History of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center
The history of the establishment of the refuge at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center is described and documented in several essays that have been published in Wildlife Activist:
- Spring 2007 – Five Years Ago and Back to the Future: How the Lehigh Gap Restoration Project Turned Around a Stalled Superfund Initiative – by Robert E. Hoopes (.pdf file)
- Fall 2002 – A Dream Come True – by Robert E. Hoopes