Go Poconos

 

West End Regional Park

IF YOU GO

Where: Trailhead is at 578 Evergreen Hollow Road, Brodheadsville, Pa.

GPS coordinates: 40-57.103N, 75-25.157W

Trail information: Trails are well-marked and maintained – 3.3 miles, with elevation change of 240 feet.

• Trail maps are posted at intervals throughout the site.

• Walkers, runners, bikers, snow-shoers, and cross-country skiers are welcome. The park is sometimes used for mountain bike runs and 5K footraces.

• Fleetwood Trail offers two sets of fitness courses. At its start, you’ll find four stations for people 50-plus, meant to get out the kinks and increase strength. Along the length of the trail, active exercise stations guide you in moves that will increase your heart rate.

 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

• Open from dawn to dusk.
• No sanitary facilities.
• No motorized vehicles, including ATVs.
• Leashed dogs are welcome. A dog cleanup station is at the entrance to Fleetwood Trail. Please clean up after your dog.
• West End Regional Park was one of the first Open Space properties acquired under Monroe County’s Open Space initiative, with help from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. See weposc.org.

An easy winter walk in the West End

By Carol Hillestad

 

Sometimes a walk in the woods is just a walk in the woods.

You won’t find heart-stopping views, lung-crushing climbs, or even rare plants at West End Re-gional Park in Brodheadsville. But on an early morning in winter, when the light is low and the shadows are long, a deeply peaceful pleasure is to be had during a walk in these woods.

Three loops offer 3.3 miles of trails that are well maintained and marked.

The first is named in memory of esteemed Chestnuthill Township Supervisor Dave Fleetwood. This one is wide, level, graveled, and wheelchair-friendly. Mixed hardwoods, white pine, and native laurels line the serpentine path, along with large patches of natives such as eastern clubmoss and teaberry wintergreen. Benches and even a picnic table invite you to stop, look, and let nature in.

When you circle back to the starting point and pass the covered picnic pavilion, a wide path of mown grass leads past an open meadow to the left. A reminder of this area’s agrarian past, the meadow is full of goldenrod and other wildflowers in summer – a perfect bluebird habitat. On an early winter day, the woods that line the meadow are quiet, with just occasional notes and flick-ery glimpses of downy woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, and cardinals.

This mown path takes you to the fork for the Upper Loop. Stands of graceful grey birch give way as the trail rises through an overgrown tree nursery, with arborvitae, firs, Norway spruce and blue spruce in abundance.

The Lower Loop takes you through open woodland and back to the meadow. Here, you can re-trace your steps to the parking area, or swing wide along the far side of the field for bucolic views of black cows grazing on the next hill.

While West End Regional Park doesn’t have creeks or large wetlands, it does contribute to clean, safe drinking water for people downstream. The park’s 244 acres are in the subwatershed of McMichael Creek — part of which is designated an “exceptional value” waterbody by the state Department of Environmental Protection. McMichael Creek joins Brodhead Creek in Stroudsburg on its way to the Delaware River, Philadelphia and the Atlantic Ocean.

Instead of the impervious surfaces of a housing development, the gentle, passive recreation here allows rainwater and snow to infiltrate naturally.

“It’s all downhill from here to the McMichael,” says Bernie Kozen, executive director of the West End Park and Open Space Commission. “Along one corner of the park, an unnamed tributary runs straight into the creek.”

Minutes from the hurry and scurry of Brodheadsville and Route 209, this park is a sanctuary where traffic sounds are muted and time slows. It’s a walk in the woods that will leave you re-freshed, recharged, and grateful.

Carol Hillestad is a hike leader and writer for Get Outdoors Poconos, a grant-funded series ad-ministered by Brodhead Watershed Association.

 

Photos by Jim Hillestad

 

Fleetwood Trail features a trail kiosk and exercise stations along the way.

 


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