Protecting the land, providing recreation



YouTube Video "In Your Neighborhood"PPL's Montour Preserve offers a variety of outdoor activities ranging from nature study and education to hiking, boating and fishing.

Hiking. Montour Preserve has over 14 miles of hiking and walking trails that range in length from one-quarter mile to over 4 miles. Most trails are designed for easy walking. One trail offers handicapped accessibility.

Nature Observation and Photography. The varied habitats of Montour Preserve offer opportunities throughout the changing seasons to explore, observe and photograph both plants and animals. Observation blinds on the lakeshore provide opportunities to study or photograph wildlife, particularly waterfowl. You must secure a permit from the office in order to use these blinds.

Birding. More than 200 different species of birds have been recorded at Montour Preserve. The variety of habitats provides exciting birding opportunities throughout the year. Migrating waterfowl and shorebirds visit the lake and ponds each spring and autumn. Warblers are common sights during migration. Forests, fields and wetlands offer summer homes to many bird species. Other birds are year-round residents. Viewing windows in the Visitors Center offer a close look at birds visiting feeding stations.

Picnicking. Picnic tables and pavilions on each side of Lake Chillisquaque are available to families and larger groups. Each picnic area has charcoal grills, water, restrooms and playgrounds available. Pavilions can be reserved for a fee by calling 1-800-354-8383. Pavilion reservations must be received 5 business days prior to the date the pavilion is required. Payment is non-refundable and must be received by PPL to guarantee a pavilion reservation."

Fossil-Hunting. The popular Fossil Pit is an exposed shale bank that contains marine fossils from the Devonian Period (410 million to 360 million years ago). This is the only area of the preserve where collecting natural resources is allowed. This area is open sunrise to sunset. A paved parking lot provides easy access to the area.

Cross Country Skiing. Preserve trails are open to cross country skiing as weather and snow permits. Trails are not groomed. They offer easy to more difficult levels of skiing.

Boating. Canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats and boats with electric motors are permitted on Lake Chillisquaque. Boaters must wear proper personal floatation devices (PDFs). Access is from a boat ramp at Heron Cove on the east side of the lake. No gasoline motors are permitted. Boating is permitted 24 hours a day, year round except from March 15 through April 30 to reduce disturbance to migrating waterfowl.

Fishing. Fishing is a popular recreation at Montour Preserve's Lake Chillisquaque. This 165-acre impoundment provides opportunities to catch largemouth bass, perch, black crappie, bluegill and catfish. Northern pike, walleye and tiger muskellunge present particular challenges. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations apply. Fishing maps are available from Montour Preserve brochure racks. A fishing pier on the Heron Cove side of the lake allows anglers to fish in deeper water than they can directly from shore. The pier is typically available for use from early May through October.

Hunting. Although hunting is not permitted within the preserve, PPL provides nearly 4,000 acres of land nearby that is open to hunting through a cooperative farm-game project with tenant farmers and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. All Game Commission seasons and bag limits apply to these hunting lands. Hunting maps are available in brochure racks.

Visitors Center. Exhibits and displays in the Visitors Center highlight mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey common to Montour Preserve or Pennsylvania. Native American culture is interpreted through artifacts and an exhibit. Another exhibit compares historical and modern land-use practices. The Discovery Center offers younger children an opportunity to manipulate nature puzzles, while a computer game offers a nature quiz for older children and adults. Windows at the rear of the building provide a view into a wildlife feeding area visited frequently by a variety of bird species. The Visitors Center is open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day including holidays. During the rest of year, weekend and holiday hours vary with public programming.