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Miller Mountain
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania

Kevin Whipple has uncovered a lost ski area proposal: the area was planned but never opened. Kevin writes:

    “Miller Mountain was a ski area proposal that went as far as trail cutting, but not any further. No lifts or structures (that I know about) were ever built/installed.

    Miller Mountain is located right outside of Tunkhannock, PA in Wyoming County. The mountain looms over Tunkhannock and is visable from most parts of the town. Tunkhannock would have made for a nice ‘ski town’ if the ski resort had ever seen fruition. Only a mile or two from the base of the hill, it has a nice main street with a variety of shops, restaurants, activities, and even a movie theatre (when last I was through there). In and around the area is a host of resorts, golf courses, and accommodations. It is a large enough town to have a lot of the modern conveniences like a Wal-Mart and various fast food joints and gas stations.

    Miller Mountain is the highest in this section of the Endless Mountains in PA. Some would not consider Elk Mountain (further North and higher) to be part of the Endless Mountains but it probably is. The mountains here are amoung the most beautiful in the entire state, and are higher than the neighboring Pocono Mountains. The Susquehanna River runs along the northeastern base of the mountain at around 500 feet in elevation. The summit of the mountain is over 2,200 feet, which is about 1,700 feet of vertical drop, but the ski area probably would not have ever exceeded 1,500 feet of vertical. Still, 1,500 feet of vertical is over 400 feet higher than PA’s current vertical leader (Blue Mountain, at 1,084 feet). From the stories I have heard, the plan for the ski resort would have been around 1,200 feet of vertical drop to start. The proposed ski area was to be built on the north-facing aspects of the mountain, to which there was massive potential area for terrain.

    I have heard various stories about this ski area proposal, and can’t say they are absolutely true. Though I will pass on what I can best say happened with this one. Apparently ‘as the story goes,’ the people bought the land with the intentions of developing it for skiing sometime in the early to mid 1980’s. Everything was rolling along until there was some permit debate concerning selling alcohol at the area. The base area for the mountain was going to be located in Eaton Township, which is a dry township. The developer for the property could not get a special license to sell alcohol. With everything else ready to roll, the developer (with an approved logging permit) started cutting trails as the fight continued for the liquor license. The municpality went nuts, but the developer just said they were logging their land as they have a permit to do. They just so happened to be logging the land into skiable routes. Apparently, without that liquor license, the developer abandoned the project. This is perhaps a testament to the importance placed on selling alcohol at a major ski resort, to investors, in order to make it profitable. Certainly a shame that such a great looking ski hill should go undeveloped because they can’t sell booze.

    That’s just the story as I have heard it. How true it is, I won’t bet my life on. As a youngster, the trails on the hillside were very visible. My father used to fly a single-engine Piper Cherokee out of a small airfield at the base of the mountain (right in Tunkhannock). During take-off and landing, I had a great aerial view of the trails. What an incredible mountain it probably would have been. Today, these trails are quickly becoming grown-in. ATV’s keep the main logging routes clear. Some of the old trails seem to be kept clear by people using 4WD trucks. The mountainside seems to be a popular hunting area. Most of the trail work was done on the lower reaches of the mountain though I seem to remember at least one route that was cut from near the summit. Today, the upper reaches are just logging roads.”

    Kevin provides the following photos:

    The mountain, as seen from the Wal-Mart near its base in Tunkhannock. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    This particular trail had a rough road snaking along it.  There was evidence that perpendicular drainage ditches were dug on some routes.
    One of the cut trails. This particular trail had a rough road snaking along it. There was evidence that perpendicular drainage ditches were dug on some routes. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

    Kevin Whipple provided the following images in September, 2008.

    A 3-d view from Google Earth showing the main logging area. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

     

    An aerial image from Google Earth showing the main logging area and what remains of the trail work. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

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    cole swire
    7 years ago
    i live in tunkhannock and ride my atv on miller all the time. i have pictures on my camera and cell phone if you want more for this web page. they’re from the top at wood’s cabin that my grandpa help build. it over looks jurisa’s farm
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