Discover One of Pennsylvania’s Newest State Parks
On a brisk autumn day, visitors gathered beside the Susquehanna River, surrounded by craggy cliffs and rolling mountains. Beneath the boughs of an ancient oak tree, state and local officials made an announcement that would go down in local history—Vosburg Neck would officially become the first state park in Wyoming County.
Located just outside of Tunkhannock, Vosburg Neck was one of three new state parks approved by former Governor Tom Wolf in 2022. However, the area was a local favorite long before the big announcement. Previously known as the Howland Preserve, the property is a destination for hikers and paddlers.
Local History Meets Stunning Scenery
Vosburg Neck is situated on an oxbow bend where the river curves around the land, carving a plunging U-shape around the mountains. It is named for Abraham Vosburg, who was given the land in the 1700s after serving in the Revolutionary War. The park’s rich heritage is part of what makes it special.
“In addition to being the first state park in the county, I think that the Vosburg Neck is an interesting time capsule for the region,” said Karley Stasko, marketing and development director at North Branch Land Trust. “From the pre-colonial to the post-industrial, there are historical breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the property.”
Notable features include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings, remnants of the old canal, a historic rail bed, and a 1700s-era cemetery.
Centuries later, landowner Ernest Howland left the property to North Branch Land Trust. The land opened to the public as the Howland Preserve.
“I first visited Howland after the land trust acquired it in 2003,” recalled Ellen Ferretti, executive director of North Branch Land Trust. “Everything was overshadowed by the beauty of the land and being able to walk right down to the mighty Susquehanna River. Right there, at that spot, the view is magnificent.”
In Howland’s will, he hoped that the land would ultimately become a county or state park. Nearly twenty years later, his wish became a reality.
Things to Do at Vosburg Neck
Exciting additions and improvements are on their way, but there’s already plenty for visitors to enjoy. The park encompasses 669 acres, ranging from dense woodlands to bucolic meadows to the peaceful riverbanks.
Park manager Nicholas Sulzer remembers his first time touring the area. “Traveling into the park on Vosburg Road, the serene mountain landscape as you descended into the river valley passing local farms really made a huge first impression,” he said. “Then, when you get into the park and stop and just listen, it’s very peaceful. You have the river flowing and the sounds of nature.”
One of the highlights is the easy access to the Susquehanna River. The park currently offers a non-motorized boat launch, which is perfect to kayaking and canoeing.
The park also features about eight miles of hiking trails, which are generally moderate and family friendly. The Old Farm Road Trail is an easy out-and-back stroll through the fields, while routes like the Whitetail Trail ramble through the forests. The Vista Trail is more challenging, but well worth the effort. At 2.3 miles long, the trail climbs up the hill to a sweeping lookout point, where you’ll be rewarded with a view of the river and farmlands below.
“Between exploring the trails and spending some time relaxing along the river, you cannot go wrong,” said Sulzer.
Plan Your Visit
Vosburg Neck State Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Portable, temporary bathrooms are currently available until permanent facilities are built.
The park is just a short drive from Tunkhannock. From town, take US 6 West about six miles and turn left at the stoplight onto Vosburg Road. Drive 2.6 miles down Vosburg Road and turn left at the parking area beside the barn.
While boating, please abide by all park rules and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations. Only non-motorized boats are allowed at this time, and you’ll need to display boat registration or a launching permit.
Trail maps are posted on the side of the barn. Maps and park information are also available online.
Vosburg Neck State Park would not have been possible without the dedication of several individuals and groups, including:
- North Branch Land Trust, which played a pivotal role in transferring the property to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
- Senator Lisa Baker, who advocated for the park for over eight years.
- The Friends of Howland Preserve, notably Doug and Ali Wilson, who maintained the property for many years and created the existing trail system.