The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced today the permanent protection of a 22-acre property in Cook Township, Westmoreland County through a donated conservation easement from property owners Michael Blehar and Beth Evans.
The Ligonier Valley property includes 1,000 feet of frontage on Fourmile Run, a tributary to Loyalhanna Creek – a popular 50-mile trout fishery that originates at Laurel Ridge and ends at the confluence of the Kiskiminetas River. The riparian area along the run is entirely forested, which helps improve and protect the water quality and aquatic life. The donated conservation easement legally restricts future subdivision and development on the land and will keep the property’s eight-acre forested riparian area intact and protect a scenic corridor of open space along Fourmile Run.
Michael and Beth say their property has long been a nature escape where their children experienced wildlife and often played in the stream, and family and friends took refuge from their busy lives.
“Nature soothes what ails you, making you slow down and breathe,” Michael adds. “Doing what you can to preserve nature and its many benefits is important to us.”
Stretching between the forested flanks of Laurel and Chestnut ridges in Westmoreland County, the Ligonier Valley is regarded for its rolling farmland, scenic vistas, historic structures, clear streams and the Borough of Ligonier. Conservancy President and CEO Thomas Saunders says the valley has been a conservation priority for the Conservancy for decades because it’s one of our region’s most exceptional natural and scenic areas.
“For many years, we’ve worked closely with the local community and landowners to employ a variety of conservation techniques to preserve land and water in the valley,” says Saunders. “Protecting land safeguards wildlife habitats and that residents and visitors to the Ligonier Valley will continue to enjoy the beautiful vistas that define it for generations. We greatly appreciate Michael and Beth’s generosity and conservation ethic.”
Since the 1970s, the Conservancy has permanently protected nearly 27,000 acres of land in the Ligonier Valley, of which more than 10,000 are through conservation easements. For more information about conservation options, please contact the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 or [email protected].