Disaster prevention under your feet: Hike a dry dam

Barrett Township. Adam Schellhammer, district manager of Monroe County Conservation District, says the Goose Pond Dry Dam is one of “the most beautiful places in the county.”

30 Aug 2019 | 05:18

The Goose Pond Dry Dam is so much more than a beautiful bit of wilderness in Barrett Township, Pa. The earthen dam was built to prevent the horror of the flood of 1955 from ever happening again.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, Brodhead Watershed Association will host a hike to show participants how the dry dam helps prevent flooding downstream. Adam Schellhammer, district manager of Monroe County Conservation District, which maintains the dam, will lead the hike and explain why the area’s dry dams are so important.

During major storms, this dry dam fills, slows the water, and controls its release, keeping a wall of debris-laden water from inundating homes and businesses downstream.

On the way to the dam, hikers will also pass through multiple habitats in a few minutes — a healthy wetland full of native cattails, a rocky barren outcrop with reindeer lichen, and pollinator-laden meadows: moths, bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, and more. Overhead, eagles are sometimes seen, as are wading birds, ducks, geese and an elegant great blue heron. Wood turtles also put in appearances.

This is a mostly easy, out-and-back walk of about 2.25 miles on a wide, grassy trail. One section leads steeply down to the creek. Tick protection is essential.

This hike is arranged by permission from Monroe County Conservation District, and is led by District Manager Adam Schellhammer and Carol Hillestad. The dry dam is owned and patrolled by Monroe County and, for security reasons, is not otherwise open to the public.

The hike series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

If you go:
When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: Barrett Township. Directions will be given upon registration. A shuttle will take hikers to the trailhead from a nearby location.
Cost: Free, but registration is required. Registration is limited to 22 people.
Phone: 570-839-1120 or 570-629-2727
Email: info@brodheadwatershed.org
Web: brodheadwatershed.org/gopoconos