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Ecology of Camp Minsi

Landscape

Camp Minsi is located on the shores of Stillwater Lake atop the Pocono Mountains in Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania. The landscape of the area surrounding Camp Minsi is composed mainly of broad, flat, swampy areas intermixed with low hills covered with a northern hardwood forest. Camp Minsi encompasses more than 1,200 acres of relatively flat Pennsylvania woodlands. Common tree species are beech, birch and maple. The 314-acre Stillwater Lake, a man-made lake, is a central feature to the natural landscape.

Natural History

About 20,000 years ago, a giant sheet of ice at least one mile thick covered the area. Evidence of the glacier is the very rocky soil that is called glacial till and the abundance of bogs.

Much of the surrounding area is characterized by sphagnum moss bogs, evergreen trees and thin, moist, rocky soil. The first humans to the area found dark forests of evergreens and seemingly bottomless swamps and bogs.

Due to the logging of the forests in the 1800s, large portions have regrown with a mix of deciduous trees mainly American beech, plus many species of oak and red maple trees.

Plants & Wildlife

Common species found in the area include are white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, turkey, squirrel, chipmunk, muskrat, mink, fox, and raccoon.

Blackburnian warbler, red-breasted nuthatch and northern waterthrush are common to this habitat. In the spring, spotted and Jefferson salamanders and wood frogs flock to the bogs to breed.

Interesting plants like the carnivorous pitcher plant, cotton grass and many sedges inhabit the bogs. The carnivorous plant yellow bladderwort lives in some of the bogs and in Duck Puddle. In the underwater portion of the plant, small sacks trap tiny aquatic animals.

In early May, before any trees have leaves, serviceberry trees flower. In mid-June, the plentiful mountain laurel blooms, followed in late-June to early-July by rhododendron. In mid-July, highbush blueberries bear fruit, providing a feast for bears and birds (and Scouts).

Black bear are occasionally present in the areas surrounding camp. Black bear normally avoid people, but bears dependent on eating human food can become slightly aggressive when people get between them and food. If you come in contact with a black bear, try chasing it away by making loud noises like yelling or banging a pot. Notify a camp staff if you have difficulties with a bear. Never approach a bear and be especially wary of mother bears and cubs.

Fishing

The common fish in the 314-acre Stillwater Lake are bass, pickerel, yellow perch, catfish and sunfish. The tailwaters of Stillwater Lake flow to compose Tunkhannock Stream and offer Brook and Rainbow trout fishing as well.

Trails

The rugged terrain of Camp Minsi makes for challenging but rewarding hiking. Camp Minsi offers over 20 miles of hiking trails, a beautiful natural landscape and a variety of interesting sites and landmarks to be seen. Detailed trail maps are available in the Trading Post during the summer camp season or online in the maps section of campminsi.org.
Two white-tailed deer cross Tunkhannock Stream near First Bridge.
 
 A beaver lodge on Stillwater Lake.
 
 An eastern box turtle at Camp Minsi.
 
Camp Minsi's backwoods bog, Duck Puddle.

Camp Minsi's Nature Trail