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About the Poconos in Pennsylvania

The Pocono Mountains region is a mountainous region of about 2,400 square miles (6,200 km²) located in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The Poconos are a popular recreational destination for local and regional visitors. The region has a population of about 300,000, which is growing fast, largely attributable to vacationers from the New York City Region turning vacation homes into primary residences, and establishing new ones altogether. The region lacks any major population center, although small municipalities are scattered through the area. The Poconos now serves as a commuter community for the Northern New Jersey metropolitan areas, even though the commute often takes as much as 2 hours each way due to distance and traffic. Because the region lacks a population center, it is difficult to establish transit infrastructure to feed (future) commuter rail and bus lines.

The Poconos are a vaguely defined area encompassing Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne Counties of Pennsylvania [1], as well as portions of neighboring counties such as Susquehanna, Luzerne, and Lackawanna. The region of Northampton County from the Slate Belt northwards is also sometimes included[2]. In total, the Poconos encompass over 2,500 square miles. The Poconos are mountainous, geologically a southwestern extension of the Catskills, although not as high: their highest summit, Elk Hill’s North Knob, reaches 2,693 feet (821 m), while its lowest elevation is 350 feet (107 m) in Pike County.
Technically speaking, although they seem to be an extension of the Appalachian Mountains into Upstate New York, they are not geologically related. The Poconos are not a mountain chain, they are rather a mature dissected plateau, an uplifted region that was subsequently eroded into sharp relief. They are an eastward continuation of the Allegheny Plateau, one which continues into the Catskills in New York State.
The Delaware River flows through the Poconos and gives the region its name, from a Native American term roughly translating to "stream between two mountains." The Lehigh and Lackawaxen Rivers also flow through the region, totalling about 170 miles (270 km) of waterways. The Poconos are also home to some 150 lakes and many waterfalls, such as those in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area of Monroe County and Ricketts Glen State Park in northwestern Luzerne County.

View from Mount PoconoAs commuter families build homes and send their children to public schools, they interact with preexisting youth. Children of commuters serve as sample groups from their respective hometowns. These hometowns differ greatly; from the quiet post WWII suburbs of northern New Jersey, to the gritty, economically depressed South Bronx. The latter group began to appear in numbers as dilapidated, shoddy, housing units from the Pocono's first wave of housing development in the 1980s, which came onto the market again in the mid-1990s. This is especially true along SR 611 and US 209 in Monroe County . Since the mid-1980s the weekly real estate section of New York City's "blue collar" newspaper, the Daily News has been awash with ads encouraging "outer boros" residents to move to the region to get much bigger housing bang for the buck.
The popularity of the Poconos as a summer retreat began at the dawn of the 20th century when Philadelphia Quakers started the resorts of Buck Hill Falls and Pocono Manor, and later in the 1920s, Skytop.

 Camelback Ski AreaThe Poconos are a well known outdoor recreation destination for visitors around the northeast, especially from New York City and Philadelphia. Primary attractions are centered on the region's diverse natural offerings. The Poconos encompass the Delaware State Forest [3], including six designated natural areas [4], seven state parks [5], seventeen state game lands [6], and one national park: The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. There are extensive opportunities for watersports, with many of the lakes and rivers stocked for fishing. Hunters pursue white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, and other animals. More American black bear are killed here than anywhere else in the state, and likely the contiguous 48 states. This is largely due to acidic pine barren creek valleys teeming with trout and berries. Toward the southern margin of the Poconos, the Blue Mountain ridge is site of the Appalachian Trail and a major flyway for the autumn raptor migration, including the nationally renowned Hawk Mountain sanctuary.
The Poconos are also home to Summer Camps, such as Camp Pocono Ridge[7] and Goose Pond Scout Reservation near Lake Ariel.
The Poconos are and have been Pennsylvania's most popular tourist destination, the region contains over 80% of the state's resorts. Those resorts earn 1.5 billion in gross revenues and employ 18,000 workers.[8] The region is also a popular winter destination. State parks offer snowmobile trails, snowshoeing, and eagle watching [9].
Popular summer attractions include Claws N Paws Wild Animal Park [10], Kittatinny Rafting & Paintball [11], Houdini Museum [12] and others. Other outdoor activities, particularly golf, are also popular options.
Another attraction is Pocono Raceway, a major automobile racetrack, which is home to two NASCAR races in June and August as well as a racing school and motorcycle track.
A highly controversial proposal to license a gambling casino with slot machines in Monroe County was recently approved. The new casino at the site of the former Mount Airy Lodge is now completed and was opened to the public on October 22, 2007. The adjacent hotel is still under contruction and is expected to open in November or December 2007. The total cost is estimated to be $360 million and will include approximately 5,000 slot machines when complete.

Skiing in the Poconos
Numerous ski resorts [13] in the Poconos offer some of the closest and most accessible skiing to the major population centers of the East Coast of the United States.
Camelback Ski Area - the most ski runs in the Poconos
Blue Mountain Ski Area [14] - the largest vertical drop in the Poconos (1,082 feet) and closest to Philadelphia
Elk Mountain Ski Area - one of the larger areas with 30 trails, the highest ski peak at 2,600+ feet and a 1,000 foot vertical drop
Sno Mountain Ski Area - just outside of Scranton, features the steepest terrain in the Poconos and a 1,000 foot vertical drop
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area [15] - closest to New York City, just across the Delaware from New Jersey, draws big city crowds
Jack Frost Mountain and Big Boulder [16] - two sister ski areas, family oriented skiing
Ski Big Bear [17]
Tanglwood [18]
Alpine Mountain [19]
Eagle Rock Resort - the westernmost of the Pocono ski areas
Ski areas in the Poconos are not particularly large and do not have large vertical drops (Camelback, with an 800' vertical drop is the largest), so runs tend to be on the shorter side. However, the Poconos do offer conveniently located skiing, and many areas also offer night skiing. Many Pocono ski resorts cater to both winter and summer visitors.

Rail Service
The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad mainline runs over the Pocono Mountains.Rail service is provided by the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority. One of its primary objectives is to establish rail passenger service with New Jersey Transit between Scranton, Pennsylvania and Hoboken, New Jersey with connecting service into Manhattan, New York. Designated operator of the line is NJ TRANSIT. There is currently no passenger rail service from the Poconos to Hoboken, New Jersey
On January 23, 2007, NJ Transit was given an intitial environmental 'OK' to re-establish a Hoboken-to-Scranton connection, estimated to be a 3-hour trip.
Rebuilding rails on the Lackawanna Cutoff, and subsequent resumption of passenger service is slated to be completed in 2011/2012[20].

The Poconos have a few newspapers covering local events and happenings. These include the daily paper, The Pocono Record, the weekly paper, a shopper and Blue Mountain Moments, which is published monthly. To the north, additional regional publications covering Pike and Wayne Counties include the News Eagle, Pike County Dispatch, Milford Magazine, Pike County Courier, and Wayne Independent.

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau - The Official Convention & Visitors Bureau for the Pocono Mountains
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg (capital)
Topics Cities | Politics | History | Geology | Pennsylvanians | State Parks
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