February marked the completion of Manada Conservancy’s first conservation easement project of the new year: a beautiful mountain property straddling two watersheds and part of the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape.

The protected property, totaling 97 acres, is predominantly forest covered with acreage on both the north and south facing slopes of Peters Mountain within the Kittatinny Ridge Important Bird Area. It supports breeding songbirds as well as migrating raptors, songbirds, and monarch butterflies. With steep slopes, rocky outcropping, and a stretch of the South Fork of Powells Creek, the property contains a wide variety of habitats. The landowners regularly see black bears and bobcats and have also recently witnessed fishers and porcupines.  It is also home to native brook trout.

Contiguous with thousands of acres of other protected lands, this addition furthers efforts to safeguard the Appalachian Trail viewshed and trail experience and supports the water quality in Clarks Creek. Both Clarks Creek and Powells Creek flow into the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

With more on the horizon, this project marks the eighth that Manada Conservancy has completed through Fort Indiantown Gap’s Army Compatible Use Buffer program in partnership with program administrators, the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. Protecting land surrounding the military base has the dual purpose of protecting land of high conservation value as well as the dark skies and flight path necessary for military training operations.