Cherry Springs State Park

Cherry Springs State Park is a 106-acre (43 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Potter County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The park was created from land within the Susquehannock State Forest, and is on Pennsylvania Route 44 in West Branch Township. Cherry Springs, named for a large stand of Black Cherry trees in the park, is atop the dissected Allegheny Plateau at an elevation of 2,300 feet (701 m). It is popular with astronomers and stargazers for having some of the "darkest night skies on the east coast" of the United States, and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".

The earliest recorded inhabitants of the area were the Susquehannocks, followed by the Seneca nation, who hunted there. The first settlement within the park was a log tavern built in 1818 along a trail; the trail became a turnpike by 1834 and a hotel replaced the tavern in 1874, then burned in 1897. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the old-growth forests were clearcut; the state forest was established in 1901 and contains second growth woodlands. "Cherry Springs Scenic Drive" was established in 1922, and the Civilian Conservation Corps built much of Cherry Springs State Park during the Great Depression, including a picnic pavilion listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). An annual "Woodsmen's Show" has been held in the park each August since 1952.

Cherry Springs State Park was named Pennsylvania's first dark sky park by the DCNR in 2000. The adjoining Cherry Springs Airport, built in 1935, was closed and its land was added to the park in 2006, to expand its stargazing area. On June 11, 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association named it the second "International Dark Sky Park"; under optimum conditions the Milky Way casts a discernible shadow. Cherry Springs has received national press coverage and hosts two star parties a year, which attract hundreds of astronomers. There are regular stargazing and educational programs for the public at the park, and the Woodsmen's Show attracts thousands each summer. Cherry Springs also offers rustic camping, picnic facilities, and trails for mountain biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. The surrounding state forest and park are home to a variety of flora and fauna.

Read more about Cherry Springs State ParkGeology and Climate, Ecology, Nearby State Parks

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