Conservation Atlas Spotlight – Northampton Highlands

Pennsylvania Highlands Conservation Atlas Story Map Spotlight – Northampton Highlands.

To access the full Northampton Highlands Story Map, click HERE.

The AMC Mid-Atlantic office has updated and expanded the 2006 Highlands Conservation Atlas into 12 interactive Story Maps which include updated conserved lands, conservation areas, and historic and recreational resources, such as the PA Highlands Trail.

This atlas was developed to build awareness about the importance of the Pennsylvania Highlands region by portraying the special places and resources found there. It is a call for action to help protect this incredible and threatened region.

Conservation Area: Northampton Highlands

Northampton Highlands Conservation Area within the PA Highlands
Northampton Highlands Conservation Area within the PA Highlands Locator Map

As the northeasterly expression of the Pennsylvania Highlands region, we kick off this series of blogs by celebrating this predominantly rural landscape, with its locally important agricultural area.

Natural Resources: This region of the PA Highlands is unique in its attractive nature for less common edge species, thanks to its many old farm fields. American woodcock, yellow-breasted chat, and indigo bunting are just some edge species you may find while visiting the Northampton Highlands.

This area is also home to the Cooks Creek Watershed, a priority landscape in the Bucks County Natural Areas Inventory Update and provides habitat for bog turtles, Great Blue Heron, and different species of sedges. Cooks Creek, being the region’s largest creek, possess excellent water quality and hosts many wild brook and brown trout populations. Cooks creek and its tributaries, which flow into the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, are designated as Exceptional Value streams.

As for the geology of the Northampton Highlands, we see rocky ridges made up of granite, quartzite, and gneiss. The abandoned Durham Iron Ore Mine, which is considered the most important bat hibernaculum in eastern Pennsylvania is also found here.

Historical/Cultural Resources: We’re lucky to live and recreate in eastern PA, where history abounds. There are numerous structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places which can be found within the Northampton Highlands. Some examples of these include the Jacob Arndt farmstead, Coffeetown Grist Mill, Moritz Grist Mill, the Rodenback farmstead, and the Durham Mill.

We can’t talk about historical and cultural resources in this Conservation Area without mentioning the Delaware and Lehigh Canal system. The D&L Canal, once critical to the settlement and formation of this landscape, now finds itself a National Heritage Corridor.

Recreational Resources: Not only is the Delaware and Lehigh Canal of great historical significance, but it now is also an immense recreational resource in our area. The D&L Trail, a 165-mile long trail following the canal, connects people to towns and cities across five counties, ultimately crossing through the Northampton Highlands Conservation Area.

It’s important to note that the majority of land in the Northampton Highlands is privately owned and at risk of being lost to development.

Interactive Map: Follow this link to explore the Northampton Highlands through an interactive map that shows climbing sites, critical treasures, fishing and boating access, park and recreation areas, cultural resources, Audubon Important Bird Areas, and more! Northampton Highlands (


Local Organizations: Be sure to check out some local organizations who work in the Northampton Highlands!


For the full Story Map, follow this link: Northampton Highlands (