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A 9.6 mile system of interconnecting trails offers excellent opportunities to view wildlife, cross-country ski, mountain bike or go bass fishing. Fifteen man-made ponds were constructed in the early 1960's in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Buzzard Swamp is within a special management area that emphasizes wildlife management and recreational opportunities.
Most of the trails are not marked with diamonds, so watch the informational signs for directions. The skill level of the trails is easy and the terrain is relatively flat. Some of the trails are located within meadows with little protection from the sun and wind. Be prepared.
Buzzard Swamp offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on the Forest. The area is an important link in the Atlantic flyway during the waterfowl migration. During spring migration, 20-25 species of waterfowl can be seen around the swamp. An observant hiker could see bear, deer, beaver, coyote, snapping turtles, turkey, osprey, and bald eagles. Don''t forget your binoculars or spotting scope for great views of the native fauna.
All of the ponds have small and large-mouth bass, perch, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. Boating is permitted on the ponds, but no motors are allowed. The nearest pond is 1 mile from the trailhead, and since no motorized vehicles are allowed within the swamp, boats must be carried.
The Songbird Sojourn Interpretive Trail is a 1.5 mile long self-guided nature trail. The trail starts at the Forest Road 157 trailhead, and is marked with off-white diamonds. Pamphlets are available at the trailhead and the Marienville Ranger Station, 2 miles north of Marienville on State Route 66.
Entering the propagation area for any reason is strictly prohibited. Minimizing access to this small propagation area (40 acres) has enabled essential vegetation to proliferate, providing critical habitat for nesting waterfowl. Excellent wildlife viewing opportunities are possible from trails bordering the propagation area. We ask for your cooperation in retaining this unique habitat.
These trails are for hiking, skiing and mountain biking. Motorized vehicles, ATVs, and snowmobiles are not allowed on any of the trails. Entry into the waterfowl propagation area is strictly prohibited. No motorized boats are allowed on any of the ponds. Please take care not to disturb nesting animals and their young. Disturbance may cause the adults to abandon their young.
The skill level of these hiking trails are more difficult and you should be in good health to enjoy them. We encourage you to hike with at least one other person and to leave your itinerary with friends so they''ll know where to look if you don''t return on time or need assistance.
These trails are open for winter hiking. Remember to dress in layers appropriate for the weather conditions. Be aware that these trails are used heavily in the late fall and spring by hunters. It is a good idea to wear bright fluorescent colored clothing if hiking during these time periods.
Practice no trace ethics - pack it in, pack it out, and for sanitary disposal of wastes, dig a pit on flat ground at least 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water.