first published on PA Environment Digest Blog
On September 28, the Lebanon Valley Conservancy preserved a 16-acre farm in Union Township, Lebanon County, owned by Albert Minnich. The farm, located next to Swatara State Park and a large campground, has been in Albert’s family for 100 years. The property has a mature wooded area that provides a home for wildlife like deer and owls. Conserving this property allows for a continuation of lands for recreation, open space, wildlife, and scenic views.
Albert’s farm is important for conservation as it falls within the Kittatinny Ridge. According to Pennsylvania Audubon, the Kittatinny Ridge–also known as the Blue Mountain–winds 185 miles through eastern and central Pennsylvania, to the Maryland line. The Kittatinny Ridge is a Globally Important Bird Area for many species of songbirds, raptors and migratory birds, as well as a vital part of the migratory path for ruby-throated hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. It also provides important forest habitat for mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Rivers and streams throughout the area supply water for people who live and work in the region.
Albert has many fond memories of living on the farm. He recalls when the area was mostly undeveloped, and he and his friends would walk over the mountain to spend the day at Boxcar Rocks.
Over the last few years, Albert saw the continued development in Union Township and wanted to make sure his family farm would remain undeveloped into the future.
As a land trust, TLVC was able to protect this land and provide him with peace of mind that the land would be preserved.