The Muck is a large (0.5 x 2.0 mile) wetland area about 3.5 miles north of Wellsboro, PA on Route 287. It was designated as an Important Bird Area by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society in 1999. Its combined public (State Game Lands 313) and private holdings total some 640 acres. The area was drained in the 1890s and planted commercially in lettuce and celery, but by the 1970s labor and transportation costs and the gradual sinking of the organic soils along with increasing water levels made farming unprofitable. Due to these factors, efforts by conservation agencies to reclaim wetlands (the Pennsylvania Game Commission has played an important role here), and local control of water levels by beavers, Tioga County’s Muck reverted to a completely natural state and is now a highly productive wetland providing food and cover for countless numbers of wildlife and birds. Its cattail marshes harbor breeding marsh wrens, sora rails, Virginia rails, American bitterns, and Wilson’s snipes from March to October. These species may be heard or seen any time or day, but an hour or so before sunset to night fall are often the best times.
Driving instructions: From the main traffic signal in Wellsboro, 2.6 miles west on Route 6; then 1 mile north on Route 287. The site is well-marked by a very large Game Commission sign on the right. Tiadaghton Audubon Society volunteers with the help of the Pennsylvania Game Commission have built a boardwalk and blind providing excellent access. A canoe trip through the marsh can be very rewarding. Put in anywhere along the boardwalk, but be careful about stepping on the soft soil. Whole horses were sometimes lost here in the 1890s.