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PA’s natural strengths

The Shohola Creek Gorge in Pike County.
Copyrighted photos by Michael Gadomski

November 20, 2013

Those who seek proof that Pennsylvania is one of the most beautiful states in America need look no further than photographer Michael Gadomski’s newest book, “Reserves of Strength,” which takes its title from Rachel Carson’s statement: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

With an eye for the exquisite, the spirit of an explorer and a determination to photograph much of what makes the Keystone state so special, Gadomski shares stunning images in this lush hardcover. Satisfyingly presented with minimal, though informative text and full-blown photos, the book features Pennsylvania wildlife, landscapes, flora, fungi, waterways and more. Neatly organized into chapters focusing on specific regions within the state, readers can refer to introductory maps for context.

Gadomski opens by offering a historical perspective on the unique wild areas of the state, including many of the 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest in PA. “Our parks, forestlands, and nature reserves not only protect and conserve our natural resources, but are also considered a fundamental health resource in disease prevention and for restorative capabilities,” he writes. “They are reserves of strength for our own wellbeing.”

Gadomski concludes with a thoughtful reflection on what is at risk should we shirk our roles as caretakers, and a final encouragement to close the book’s cover and get out to enjoy those resources.

A native of Wayne County who worked as a PA State Park ranger and naturalist for more than 25 years, Gadomski is also a writer and photographer with three previous coffee-table books to his credit—two focused on PA and another on the New York Catskills. Meet the author in person during Hawley Winterfest on December 7, when he will be signing copies of his books at the Hawley Public Library between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visit to learn more.