This research investigates the functioning of US Route 6 in Pennsylvania as a landscape corridor and how that may be impacted by the recent shale gas developments in the Marcellus region. Route 6 is a transit corridor that holds immense historic and cultural significance to the residents of the commonwealth as well as visitors. The dependence of industries including the recent shale gas industry has caused the way it functions to change. Moreover, such a change has led to disturbances on the landscape in terms of natural resources like land, water, forests and habitats as well as cultural resources like local communities and tourism or recreational potentials. The methods of research includes a study of literature to establish the significance of Rt. 6 in PA and then conducts spatial analysis via map overlays in GIS to understand how the shale gas developments may impact the way this historic corridor functions. The findings will provide necessary clarity on the actual impacts due to Marcellus Shale and help devise guidelines for the industry’s sustainable development in the future ensuring the environment stays protected.
In landscape ecology, a corridor is defined as a linear area of a particular land cover type that is different in content and physical structure from its surroundings. Different types of corridors ranging from riparian or river corridors, to canals within an agricultural landscape, to interstate highway systems, serve multiple functions in various dynamic natural and socio-cultural ecosystems. US Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway is a transit corridor stretching from Provincetown, Massachusetts in the east to Bishop, California in the west. Apart from serving as a crucial connection between historic towns and pristine landscapes of Pennsylvania, Rt. 6 is also an integral part of the commonwealth’s unique cultural identity. However, the recent shale gas developments in the Marcellus Region have raised concerns regarding wellbeing of Pennsylvania’s social, economic, natural and cultural processes, thereby posing a potential threat to its identity. Many frown upon the industry with apprehension of altering physical landscapes and socio-economic relationships. Since cultural and physical corridors connect parts of the landscape and enable dynamic interactions, concern has also been raised towards their effective functioning. This research looks at Rt. 6 as a transit and a cultural-landscape corridor which holds these elements together, and investigates how the shale gas industry activities currently or may potentially hamper its functioning as a dynamic entity. US Route 6 in Pennsylvania is a transit corridor that holds immense historic and cultural significance to the residents of the commonwealth as well as visitors. The dependence of energy industries including the recent shale gas industry has caused the way it functions to change. Moreover, such a change has led to disturbances on the tangible attributes of the landscape like land, water and habitats as well as cultural resources like local communities and tourism or recreational potentials. This research investigates the ways this highway has functioned as a dynamic entity in itself and as a corridor that connects different parts of the commonwealth including historic towns, ecologically significant zones as well as shale gas operation locations and seeks answer to the vital question of how the shale gas developments might have changed the way this corridor functions and has been an integral part of Pennsylvania’s tourism and recreational experience. In doing so I look at the corridor of Rt. 6 and its surrounding areas. The research covers the northern tier of the Pennsylvania which includes the twelve counties, the corridor and surrounding natural and cultural resources which contribute to the corridor’s significance.