ClearWater Conservancy has finalized the sale of the 18.7 acre Smith Trust property in Halfmoon Township to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). The property near Marengo Road and along Halfmoon Creek was acquired by ClearWater in January 2017 from the Smith Trust with the intention that the property would become part of the Scotia Barrens (State Game Lands 176).

This sale to PGC is a continuation of ClearWater’s work to help conserve properties near the Scotia Barrens. The addition of the 18.7 acre Smith Trust property combined with the Haugh Tract (465 acres- 2005) and Gray’s Woods Preserve (150 acres – 2017), both acquired by Patton Township as buffers to Scotia Barrens via its Open Space Program, represents a 10% increase in the Scotia Barrens footprint, enabling additional public access to this gem near State College.

The Scotia Barrens, located just west of State College, is one of Pennsylvania’s unique natural wonders. This rare habitat is one of the largest examples of pitch pine-scrub oak barrens remaining in our state—making it an extraordinary home for a wide variety of wildlife, a primary source of groundwater, and a place to teach the next generation about the natural world.

The Barrens are also destination for outdoor recreation. The Barrens’ ability to support wildlife draws both birdwatchers and sportsman, while miles of trails are open to hikers and some designated trails are open bike riding at certain times of the year.  The uniqueness of the habitat and the barrens’ geographic proximity to State College make it one of the most frequented outdoor recreation areas in the region.