KEMPTON, BERKS COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Golden Eagles, Broad-Winged Hawks and Great Horned Owls are just some of the raptors one may see while visiting Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
“We are somewhere around eighty thousand people. Last year was exceptional with COVID which is somewhat counter-intuitive, but I think a lot of folks were finding their way back to nature,” said the President of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Sean Grace.
With humble beginnings dating back to the Great Depression, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s 2,600 acres was the world’s first refuge for birds of prey.
“I love all conservation work and I really love raptors and everything we do around conserving them. We are grounded in science. Everything we do is science-related and then we also have our education program,” said Grace.
Thanks to generous donors, a state-of-the-art visitors center welcomes you upon your arrival.
Here you can learn more about the sanctuary’s raptors and the role these predators play in the ecosystem.
“You can see what you are maybe going to see out there on the trail. And the overlooks! The overlooks are amazing,” said Rachel Henzi, who is visiting from Indiana.
“Anything that I can learn and take home, and share at the dinner table one Sunday evening. That would be great,” said Hawk Moutain visitor Daniel Smith.
It is guaranteed that you will see Hawks here.
“Every year we count somewhere around twenty thousand raptors here along the ridge,” said Grace.
“My grandmother told me about this place. My family has visited it before, so it has always been something I wanted to see. My girlfriend and I just wanted to have a quick little hike around to see the natural beauty around the area,” said Smith.
Once your water bottles are filled up and your souvenirs are bought, the trails await you.
“We have somewhere around ten different miles but we were actually just voted the most favorite place to hike in Pennsylvania very recently. Some of the trails are definitely challenging. There is the river of rocks. There is a reason it is called the river of rocks,” Grace explains, “You are hiking on rocks quite a bit. There are some beautiful trails and we are connected into the Appalachian trail. There is always a lot of wildlife around, so it is a great place to hike.”
There are also handicapped accessible hiking trails in addition to their backyard garden bird feeding station, so everyone has a chance to soar.
“It is a great way to get people of all abilities out and learning about nature. We did some programs this year centered around and we are going to continue to do that,” said Grace.
“You can definitely see some vultures that were just having a great time, just chilling. So that was pretty great,” said Henzi.
“Driving up here is just beautiful in itself, so my expectation was pretty much lived out,” said Smith.
To learn more about all that Hawk Moutain Sanctuary has to offer you can visit their website.