Northeastern Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as NEPA, is bustling with activity no matter the season. As coal mining declined decades ago, so did the population. Northeast PA developed a reputation as an area in which the future was bleak. In the heart of coal country, NEPA was littered with strip mines and abandoned coal breakers and railroad beds. A decline in population in the city of Scranton in particular left a dim outlook on residents who remained. But just as population and the area’s largest industry declined, a new light began to emerge at the end of the train tunnel. It was pride. Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and the Poconos have grown in many ways in the years since coal had faded away. New construction, new ideas, mine reclamation projects, tourism, and an influx of New York and New Jersey residents looking for a somewhat quieter way of life have caused our NEPA to surge with activity.
Activity in the outdoors, in particular, has blossomed in our parks and recreation areas. There are new walking and hiking trails specifically the “Rails to Trails” program which has reclaimed old railroad property and transformed the abandoned railroad beds into scenic, relaxing trails for walking, hiking, and jogging. Sections of trail can be found throughout NEPA along both the Lackawanna and Susquehanna river and through numerous towns and residential areas as well as woods, private areas. The trails are especially busy in spring, summer, and autumn months when weather is cooperating.
The lakes and reservoirs of NEPA are also bustling in the warmer seasons, and for ice fisherman, even in the winter. NEPA is home to Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania’s largest man-made lake. This one lake in particular draws thousands annually for boating and watersports and even comes with its own islands. Further south is Harvey’s Lake another one of Northeastern PA’s premiere lakes for watersports and boating. Smaller lakes and reservoirs are too many to list but fortunately they are sprinkled throughout NEPA.
For the music lover it gets even better… Northeast PA has its own amphitheater on Montage Mountain which features top name entertainers year after year. This, of course is a pay-as-you-go venue but there’s plenty of music elsewhere in the area that doesn’t cost a penny. Nay Aug park occasionally features outdoor summer concerts open to the public. Then there are the many area festivals, carnivals, and outdoor church events with live music including ethnic music for all to enjoy.
Wintertime has no shortage of outdoor activities either. Area ski resorts are opened through the winter months and when weather doesn’t cooperate, they just make their own snow. There are multiple ski resorts scattered throughout the Poconos, near Scranton, and a few miles north of Scranton near the picturesque town of Uniondale. And it doesn’t stop there, snowmobiling is also available for those who have the need for speed or those who feel the need to go where many others cannot. There are public accessible, club-owned and operated snow trails as well as trails sanctioned in select state parks for your enjoyment.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a visit to NEPA if you enjoy the outdoors. With friendly, hospitable residents and plenty of options to keep the whole family busy, Northeast PA has become a destination for those eager to enjoy mother nature no matter the season.