Big Pocono State Park is on land which was owned by Henry S. Cattell near the turn of the 20th century. Mr. Cattell, being very fond of the view from the summit of Camelback Mountain, an knowing that many others shared his love for the area, constructed a stone cabin on the summit in 1908. The Cattell Cabin was left unlocked for many years to be used as a shelter by anyone who wished.
Since 1921, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry has maintained Big Pocono Fire Tower on the mountain for the purpose of detecting forest fires in the surrounding private and state forest lands. The tower is staffed only during the spring and fall seasons and has been dedicated by the National Fire Tower Association as a historic structure.
In 1928, 12 years after Mr. Cattell’s death, the Pennsylvania Game Commission purchased the area. In 1950, a portion of the state land on the steep north slope of the mountain was leased to Big Pocono Skiing, Inc., for commercial ski development. Later named Camelback Ski Corporation, the facility has been developed into a major ski resort.
In 1953, a 1,306-acre portion of the state game lands, including the ski area lease, was acquired by the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters (now the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) for the purpose of developing a state park at the mountain’s summit.
In 1954, after the construction of restrooms, parking areas, picnic sites, fireplaces and a scenic drive around the summit, the area was opened to the public as Big Pocono State Park. The Cattell Cabin served for many years as a park office and nature museum.
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