Preservationists: Drilling threatens historic resort

HARRISBURG - Citing a potential threat from Marcellus Shale drilling, a historic preservation group placed Eagles Mere resort in Sullivan County on its annual list of endangered places.

The primary concern is that drilling for natural gas will ruin the spring-fed Eagles Mere Lake at the heart of the mountain resort, according to Preservation Pennsylvania, which has published the "Pennsylvania At Risk" list each December since 1992. If the lake is impacted by water contamination or excessive water consumption related to drilling activities, Eagles Mere would cease to exist as a mountain resort community, the advocacy group said.

"Unlike many places whose economy could benefit tremendously from natural gas extraction, the same industry threatens the economy of Eagles Mere," the report said. "This community is a historic resort, where people go to enjoy the area's natural beauty, fresh air and seclusion.

"If the area's water supply or quality is damaged, or the peaceful, secluded nature of the area is altered by increased truck traffic and the operation of heavy equipment, those very features that make Eagles Mere attractive will be lost."

The report focuses on the impact of drilling on the designated Eagles Mere historic district, a collection of domestic cottages reflecting turn-of-the-century architectural styles, boat houses and commercial buildings situated around the lake.

A citizens group, Protect Eagles Mere Alliance, formed earlier this year to focus public attention on drilling issues.

Eagles Mere borough has not taken an official position on drilling issues, said council President William Feese.

Preservation Pennsylvania considers places that are listed on or are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, locally designated historic places and places in imminent danger for inclusion on its at-risk list.

The East Stroudsburg Railroad Station is also on this year's list.

Contact the writer: rswift@timesshamrock.com