Upcoming events

Tour of Lacawac Sanctuary

Saturday 26 Apr 1:00 PM

Mothers Day Walk

Saturday 10 May

Science on Tap - The Science of Compost

Tuesday 13 May 7:00 PM

Lacawac Founder Arthur Watres Passes at Age 91

Louis Arthur Watres, known as Arthur to most people, died January 10, 2014 from complications of pneumonia in Paoli Hospital, Paoli, PA. He was 91.


Those wishing to remember Arthur are invited to send donations to Lacawac Sanctuary, 94 Sanctuary Road, Lake Ariel, PA 18436.

Arthur was a pioneering environmentalist who gave the remaining assets of a once-influential family (his grandfather was a successful Scranton businessman and Lt Governor of Pennsylvania, and his uncle a US Congressman) to the cause of preservation, education and research when he and his mother founded the Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA, in 1966.
Arthur worked the rest of his life to assure the ongoing mission of Lacawac - a work that remains in progress.

Born in 1922 in Bermuda to adventurous parents Reyburn and Isabel Watres, he grew up on the move, living in various locations and on yachts of his father's making. In all he attended more than 30 primary schools before enrolling in Phillips Exeter Academy. He studied fine art at Yale, though his university years were interrupted by his service as a Japanese interpreter for the US Navy during WWII. He was graduated in 1947 as part of the class of 1945.

Following his father's death and a short stint as a securities trader, Arthur and his mother moved to the family's then-dilapidated country manor at Lake Lacawac in the Pocono Mountains. They spent many years restoring the buildings and trying to eke out a living operating a sawmill, a fish hatchery, and earth moving business. He resorted to textbook editing.

A spirit of adventure - and long winters at Lacawac - led Arthur and his mother to explore the South Pacific in colder months. They booked themselves on a freighter to French Polynesia, and caught copra schooners under sail to various island groups. In 1949 they were passengers on the first commercial flight from Tahiti to the US.

An accomplished artist, he painted and sculpted what he saw, leaving a legacy of mid-century water colors of the Pacific and other island adventures in the Caribbean.

In the 1950s, Arthur began to read early environmental treatises about the limitations of the Earth's resources. Determined to make a difference, he visited scientists at the Museum of Natural History in New York, which led to his acquaintance with a young Dr Ruth Patrick, who became one of the world's pre-eminent limnologists. It was her first visit to Lacawac that set the seeds of the Watres gift of the estate, which surrounds what Patrick called "the southernmost unpolluted glacial lake in the US."

Arthur spent the rest of his life sharing his passion for the natural world and interest in using science to understand and protect it. His body of work - including founding the NE Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy - has been recognized by numerous national awards, Including the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership award and the Hornaday Gold Medal, the nation's oldest conservation award, presented by Gov. Mark Schweiker.He is survived by his son, Chad Reed-Watres, niece, Elizabeth Noble, grandchildren Sage and Olin Reed-Watres, and grand niece Megan Noble.

Welcome to Lacawac

Arthur Watres.

Lake Lacawac - National Natural Landmark.

Lacawac Sanctuary is a nature preserve, ecological field research station and public environmental education facility located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. 

It was founded in 1966, via the donation of 341 acres (now totals 545 acres) and a group of historic buildings.  Lacawac Sanctuary Foundation Inc. is its full name and it is a non-profit  501 (c) (3) membership organization.
The most notable feature of Lacawac Sanctuary is Lake Lacawac - a 52 acre lake that is one of the southernmost glacial lake in the hemisphere that has been preserved in pristine condition totally free from development or encroachment.  The property also features nature displays, a native plants garden, demonstration forest, deer exclosure plots, and six public hiking trails. In addition the property preserves a natural boreal bog, the Wallenpaupack Ledges Natural Area, Partner Ridge, and the Heron and Golden Ponds.
Lake Lacawac was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1966.  The 1903 historic “Adirondack Great Camp” building complex at its core has been named to the National Historic Register. In 2010, the Ledges and the lake with its wetlands were again recognized for their special qualities via declaration as an official Pennslyvania Wild Plant Sanctuary by the Pennsylvania DCNR.
Lacawac is managed by a volunteer board and limited staff with assistance from a strong base of volunteers. It operates through donations, grants, user fees, memberships, and income from endowment. It is not supported by private funding or tax dollars.
The mission of Lacawac Sanctuary Foundation is to preserve Lake Lacawac, its watershed, the surrounding forest and historic structures; provide a venue for ecological research, scholarly interaction and the training of scientists; provide public education on environmental and conservation issues; and conserve open space in Pennsylvania.


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