Nichols-Run-2015-13North-central Pennsylvania is characterized by its fields and especially by its forests. Because they are widespread features of the landscape, it may sometimes be difficult to understand the need to protect these vital resources. But subdivision, fragmentation, and conversion to other uses continue to threaten the economic and ecological viability of these spaces and the communities who value them.

Recently another portion of the region’s intact woodland was forever protected from subdivision when 155 acres in western Lycoming County were conserved through the donation of a conservation easement to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Although portions of the property had once been farmed, most of the soils are more suitable to growing trees rather  than crops, so active farming ended many years ago. Now those old fields are reverting to woodland to join the 100 or so forested acres that were not cleared for agriculture. These wooded acres are very diverse: mixed oak and hickory forests predominate, but there are also areas thick with hemlock, white pine, birch, and maple.

However, it’s not just woodland that makes this property special. There is also over 3,600 feet of Nichols Run, a tributary of Pine Creek that flows into the larger stream just west of Jersey Shore. Because it is designated a High Quality-Cold Water Fishery, special protection has been afforded to the woodland bordering the stream and its unnamed tributaries to protect water quality and aquatic life.

NPC and residents of north-central Pennsylvania will forever be grateful to the landowners who had the foresight to protect this beautiful property that helps to filter our water, cleanse our air, provide wildlife habitat, yield forest products, and enhance the beauty of our area.