Polk Wetlands
DESCRIPTION: This is a mitigation wetland created to offset wetlands lost on a PA 8 construction project. Some seasons are better than others. In Spring, Wilson's Snipe can be flushed from the wet area adjacent to the near side of the pond and migrating waterfowl and a few shorebirds can be seen when walking the raised far side of the pond. In late summer much of the water is gone from the pond and shorebirds frequent the exposed mud flats. Some years there are more mud flats than others. Usually, the more mud flat area, the more shorebirds. The only county record Western Sandpiper was documented here July 15 and 16, 2001. In fall, a few waterfowl utilize the pond and shorebirds continue to appear. The fields between the parking area and the near side of the pond attract large numbers of migrating sparrows in late September and October. The only county records for LeConte's Sparrow and Nelson's Sparrow were seen and photographed here between October 15 and October 26, 2001.

DIRECTIONS: From Franklin, go south on PA 8. From the intersection with PA 62, continue south on PA 8 for 2.3 miles and turn right (west) on Polk Cutoff. (A Dairy Queen is located on the right side of PA 8 about 0.6 of a mile before the Polk Cutoff. Turn right at Polk Cutoff, immediately past Maurer's Trading Post.) Go 1.6 miles to the parking area on the left. There are three small ponds accessible from here. About 0.12 mile ahead is a second parking area with access to a third larger pond. Directly in front of this parking area (to the south) is a large field. A pond can be seen in the distance. The pond is about 0.4 of a mile long and is easily reached via a well-worn path that leads to the left side of the pond. Depending on the time of year, the side of the pond nearest the parking area may be wet enough to require rubber boots. The terrain is level but when walking the raised far side of the pond be careful of groundhog holes. Walking from the parking area to the path leading to the left side of the pond, then around the far side of the pond and back through the field to the parking area is about 1.2 miles. South of the far west corner of the pond is small cattail marsh between the two ponds. Marsh Wren, Sora, and Virginia Rail have been recorded in this area several times. Sandy Creek, which parallels Polk Cutoff, has excellent riparian habitat. It has been little explored, but could be rewarding. Much of it is on SGL 39, so it is publicly accessible.


Maps - other than Google (Click on map for larger view)



Posted: 2009-10-24 00:00:00