In August 2023, Berks Nature permanently protected 131 acres of fields, woodlands, and open space in West Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County. The newly eased property sits within an important regional nexus of wildlife habitat on Fork Mountain and harbors two unnamed headwater tributaries to the Schuylkill River. Although not located in Berks County, the newly eased property represents a critical step forward in protecting the Kittatinny Ridge: a conservation landscape of national and regional importance.

Bending through the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, the Kittatinny Ridge is a bewitching and beautiful corridor of rugged forest. It bridges 185 miles of the Commonwealth, spanning 360,000 acres across 12 counties, including Berks. The Ridge’s varied topography – from lofty peaks to plunging ravines – creates a multitude of microclimates fostering a staggering amount of biodiversity and climate resiliency. In fact, the Kittatinny Ridge is considered Pennsylvania’s most climate resilient landscape. Yet nearly two-thirds of the Ridge’s 500 square miles are privately owned and face pressure from residential and commercial development.

The recently eased property in West Brunswick was especially vulnerable, facing increased development interests funneled in from the thoroughfares of PA Route 61 and I-78; but no longer. Located immediately adjacent both to publicly protected State Game Lands and another conservation easement held by Berks Nature, the newly protected easement adds valuable contiguous acreage to woodlands in a designated supporting landscape for biodiversity within the Kittatinny Ridge.

While working outside of our Berks County geography, Berks Nature was aided in this conservation victory by both local and regional partners in the Schuylkill County Conservancy, the Schuylkill Action Network Land Collaborative, the Kittatinny Ridge Land Protection Collaborative, and the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape.

Financial support was provided by The Nature Conservancy of Pennsylvania.

(Post adapted from press release shared by Berks Nature)