Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
The 1,168-acre Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center offers programs for pre-school aged children through college students. Center staff also provides community programs focusing on the natural and cultural history of the park, as well as outdoor recreation.
The famous Henry Rifle was once made here. The Jacobsburg National Historic District lies almost entirely within the center property and gives visitors insight into a colonial gun manufactory.
Visitors also enjoy Henrys Woods, an old growth forest surrounding Bushkill Creek that is laced with hiking trails.
Jacobsburg is a partner in the Lehigh Valley Greenway, which seeks to engage state and local governments and nonprofit conservation groups to promote land conservation and education.
Seasons and Hours: The center is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The center office is open 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Contact the center office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: The picnic area along Belfast Road is available for use by visitors and school groups. An additional picnic area is located in front of the J. J. Henry House at 402 Henry Road.
Fishing: Bushkill Creek, which is regularly stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, provides excellent trout fishing.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 937 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, rabbit and squirrel.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 18.5 miles of trails
Mountain Biking: 18.5 miles of trails
Horseback Riding: 18.5 miles of trails
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: 18.5 miles of trailsThe network of trails makes the center’s fields, woodlands and streams accessible to both students and the casual visitor. These facilities are for use by hikers, all-terrain bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. Non-hunters should wear blaze orange during hunting seasons.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
The portion of the center’s woodlands known as Henrys Woods is one of the most beautiful natural resources in the Lehigh Valley. Visitors enjoy hiking its 1.9-mile trail loop in order to experience the sights, sounds and coolness of the Bushkill Creek as it meanders past dramatic slate outcroppings and old growth stands of hemlock and white oak. Because of the wide variety of habitat found in and around Henrys Woods, many birds and wildflowers may be seen, especially during the spring months.
The Wildlife Watching Area, near the Henrys Forge Historic Area, has many opportunities for close-up viewing of birds, butterflies and small mammals found in the area.
On the northern edge of the Lehigh Valley, the rolling terrain of Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center is near the foothills of the Kittatinny Ridge. Habitats range from fields in various stages of successional growth to mature forests dominated by oak trees. Approximately 2.5 miles of the beautiful Bushkill Creek and its tributary, Sobers Run, wind through the park property.
Jacobsburg’s natural resources are not only an excellent outdoor laboratory for environmental education and interpretation, but are also important to many visitors for healthy outdoor exercise and recreation. The natural areas and open spaces provided by this public resource are becoming increasingly important in a continually expanding urban setting.
Jacobsburg National Historic District
The Jacobsburg National Historic District encompasses the eastern side of the park property and lies almost entirely within the boundaries of Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center. The district is on the National Register of Historic Places and its story is intertwined throughout the early development and growth of our nation. The history of Jacobsburg focuses on the Henry Family and their small arms industry, which played a key role in the American Industrial Revolution.
The first of the Henry gun makers, William Henry I, opened his gun factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1750. He became Armorer for the Braddock Campaign of 1755 and for the Forbes Expedition of 1758.
William Henry II established a small gun making shop in Christian Springs near Nazareth in 1778. In 1792, Henry II purchased land at Jacobsburg and built a gun manufactory. Henry II acquired the land from the heirs of Jacob Hubler, who in 1740 founded the community from which Jacobsburg draws its name. Only foundations remain at the colonial village of Jacobsburg and at the Henry’s Forge historic site.
Henry II erected a forge (bloomery) to supply the gun factory with iron to manufacture guns. In 1812, a larger manufactory was built in nearby Boulton in order to accommodate large government firearms contracts.
Three succeeding generations of Henrys produced small arms at Boulton until the late 1800s. Competition from arms companies using mass production techniques made the Henry’s handcraft technology obsolete.
The Henrys not only produced firearms for all of our nation’s major conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, but they also were the primary suppliers of rifles for the largest American business enterprise of the early 19th century, John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. The Henry firearm became the most prominent weapon of the western frontier due to its durability, accuracy and relatively low cost.
Boulton Historic Site
In the southern portion of the Jacobsburg Historic District is the Boulton Historic Site, which is administered by the Jacobsburg Historical Society.
Visitors can explore historic buildings and take a self-guided trail that interprets the life of the Henry Family and the Boulton Gun Works. The Henry Homestead, which was built in 1812, houses the Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum. The nearby John Joseph Henry House was built in 1832.
More information on the historic district, including a schedule of programs, is available from the Jacobsburg Historical Society, 610-759-9029. www.jacobsburghistory.com
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We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
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Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
Information on nearby attractions is available from Discover Lehigh Valley. www.discoverlehighvalley.com
The Jacobsburg Historical Society operates the Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum at the Henry Homestead and the Boulton Visitors Center, which are adjacent to Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center. www.jacobsburg.org
Maps and Downloadables
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Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
At the foot of Blue Mountain in Northampton County, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center is reached from PA 33 at the Belfast Exit, near Nazareth, PA.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.784 Long. -75.2936
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center