North Branch Land Trust (NBLT), working in partnership with the property owner Earth Conservancy, The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) – Recreation and Conservation Division and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, recently closed on the purchase of the 3053 acre Mocanaqua Highlands. The property is situated east of the town of Mocanaqua and borders the Susquehanna River to the north and Lily Lake to the south.
Due to the properties abundance of unique plant and animal species, scenic view-sheds and existing greenway and trail network, it is listed as a high priority area for conservation in the Land Trusts Strategic Conservation Plan, the Lackawanna & Luzerne Counties Open Space, Greenways & Outdoor Recreation Master Plan, and the Luzerne County Natural Areas Inventory.
To ensure that the property is protected in perpetuity from any future development, NBLT partnered with the Earth Conservancy in applying for a DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grant in early 2013. The grant was awarded in 2014 as part of the DCNR Enhance Penn’s Woods Program – a two-year initiative to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. Funding for these grants comes from Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key93), the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the Growing Greener Bond Fund and federal funding sources.
After purchasing the property NBLT deeded it over to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and the property is now part of the Lackawanna State Forest system. The property will be available for public recreation activities such as hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, hunting and other activities as designated by the Bureau.
NBLT looks to partner with conservation minded organizations to achieve its conservation goals in northeastern Pennsylvania. To that end NBLT looks to future partnerships with Earth Conservancy, PA Bureau of Forestry, and other state and local conservation organizations interested in protecting our regions natural assets.
NBLT Executive Director Paul Lumia stated that partnering with Earth Conservancy is a good fit for NBLT and its regional conservation mission. Earth Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with a mission to reclaim and return thousands of acres of former coal company-owned land to the region. It collaborates with local communities, government agencies, education institutions, and the private sector to spearhead the creation and implementation of plans that restore the land’s economic, recreation, residential and ecological value.
The mission of the North Branch Land Trust is to work in partnership with landowners and their communities to conserve the scenic, natural and working landscapes in Northeastern Pennsylvania that sustain us. For more information about the North Branch Land Trust contact the land trust at [email protected]