On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

It has been one month since the first day of spring. Mountaintop has had many spring like days and quite a few reminders that winter was not finished in our community. This week looks like we have passed the worst. The forecast was for temperatures in the 60s. It won’t be long until the flowering trees will bloom leaving us with lots of pollen to contend with.

Time will tell if the dreaded Gypsy Moth season will be bang or bust. My Wilderness Estates neighbors in Rice Township have hired Triple F Flying from Benton to spray at the appropriate time for maximum benefit. We won’t know when that is for a few weeks. The bottom line is that our neighborhood is ready.

Wilderness Estates and several sizable privately owned properties are surrounded by Pennsylvania State Game Land (SGL) 207, which is a single contiguous tract containing approximately 2,057 acres, and is located in Rice, Hanover, and Fairview Townships, Luzerne County in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northeast Region. SGL 207 is accessed via Brown St in Fairview and in Rice Township on Heslop Road.

Topography ranges from steep forested slopes with rocky outcrops to the east, and bottom wetlands on the west. Elevations range from 1,200 feet to 1,800 feet near Haystack Mountain. SGL 207 is mostly forested with small rock outcrops, wetlands, and brushy openings along right-of-ways.

According to information on the state’s Gameland website, SGL 207 is best suited to deer, bear, turkey, grouse and squirrel hunting, and furbearer trapping. Species of greatest conservation need include Canada warbler, cerulean warbler, Louisiana water thrush, Acadian flycatcher, black-throated blue warbler and black-throated green warbler. Mammals of concern are northern flying squirrel, silver haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, northern water shrew and fisher.

Berry picking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and bird watching are other lawful activities that occur here. There are no horseback riding or mountain bike trails on this area of game lands.

So why am I telling you about SGL 207 in such detail? The Gypsy Moth knows no boundaries and without some proactive spraying by the State of Pennsylvania the habitat for all of the birds, and mammals living there will be destroyed. There will be no forest canopy, no food, and water erosion will be devastating.

The Mountaintop Eagle is looking into what plans the state has for State Gamelands 207. Spraying our small 62-acre development without addressing the larger 2,057 acres surrounding it could prove futile.

The Crestwood School Board hired a new school superintendent last week. Joseph Matthew Gorham currently serves as superintendent of the Carbondale Area School District. He told a reporter after his appointment was approved last week that his first task is to meet the people. “I guarantee you that I will meet with every person in this district. This journey will start with the maintenance and cafeteria staff, “those who are on the grounds every day.” He will then meet with administrators, teachers and students.

Acknowledging, “This school district will become an active member of the community. The community will be welcomed into the district and district activities with open arms.

Although all of Gorham’s rhetoric is positive, I believe the Mountaintop and Crestwood communities have always strived for an open transparent relationship. Schools are big business throughout Pennsylvania. With the cost of educating one student in excess of $13,000 per year, Crestwood’s $38 million budget has a personal link to every taxpayer’s bank account.

Gorham will be paid $115,000 per year.

Find it in the Eagle

The school year is winding down and anxious parents will be registering their children for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten nursery school programs for next school year. The Mountaintop Eagle has been following students from birth to graduations, to marriages to births of their own children for decades. Our pages are filled each week with the happy faces of our children and their families as they grow year to year. Don’t wait until your child’s photo is in. Subscribe in advance and you will always be surprised by the entertaining information in each weekly edition. Some of our material ends up on our Mountaintop Eagle Facebook page and you can get a sampling at mteagle.com.Call us today 570-474-NEWS (6397) or subscribe through the webpage.

Mountain Hiking It’s time to make a dedicated plan

to hike the mountain trails for 2016. The Black Diamond Rails to Trail in Wright Township is a good place to start. It is convenient to go there after work and set out on a four to five mile outing. The 2% downhill grade is easy on the return trip if you pace yourself.

Bikers also enjoy training and recreational outings. Charlie Grubert enjoys biking the 5 plus miles down to Moose Lake. Charlie says the return trip is very challenging. Going down takes him half an hour and the return trip doubles that. The first ride of the season is the most challenging, but repetition makes it easier every day.

I got the bikes at my house inspected and tuned last year. Riding the hills in my neighborhood is challenging but not impossible. All movement counts.

I’m closing in on my next Fitbit Badge with only 68 miles to go. I should get the Sahara Badge for 2983 Lifetime Miles by the end of the month. It adds up day-by-day one step at a time.

Road Cleanups Road cleanups are an April staple

in Pennsylvania. When I see the familiar PennDot white trash bags filled and on the sides of the roads I feel a special pride. Michele Kollar has been our most faithful recent participant. Michele contacted me last week that with the gorgeous weather she wanted to do a cleanup after she was finished teaching school on Monday afternoon. Always a positive person, Michele says her road cleanup effort is a great workout and makes the road look better despite the potholes! The Mountaintop Eagle has been doing road cleanups since 1988, five years before the PA Adopt a Highway Program was invented.

Our Nuangola Road 1.3 mile stretch in Rice Township is not as litter strewn as it was 28 years ago, but there is still a substantial amount of trash that piles up every year. If you or your group would consider pitching in to the project, please call me at 570-474-6397 and we can make a plan. A few hours from a few people are all it takes. You will forever look on the beautiful clean roadway with pride.