On January 6, ClearWater Conservancy finalized the purchase of 18.7 acres in Half Moon Township from the Paul B. Smith Family Trust, expanding the protected area of the Scotia Barrens.

ABOVE: The yellow boundary indicates the newly purchased property. The green boundary outlines SGL-176, also known as the Scotia Barrens.

Conserving land in the Barrens has been a high priority for ClearWater since 2005, due to the rare habitat the land provides for wildlife and the source water protection it offers. ClearWater currently owns an additional 39 acres in the Scotia Barrens, known as the Bald Eagle to Barrens Wildlife Corridor, that is accessible to the public.

The Scotia Barrens is the primary groundwater recharge area for Bellefonte’s Big Spring, which supplies the drinking water to Bellefonte and surrounding communities.  Formally an iron ore mining community in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Scotia Barrens were protected by the Pennsylvania State Game Commission in 1973. Today the region’s rare geology and unique environment attracts hunters, hikers, bird-watchers, and bikers throughout the year. The Barrens have been identified as a Biological Diversity Area by the Centre County Natural Heritage Inventory, an Important Bird Area by Pennsylvania Audubon, and one of the first designated Important Mammal Areas by the Pennsylvania Mammal Technical Committee.

“ClearWater understands that conserving the surrounding acres of the Scotia Barrens’ habitat is a proactive way to protect the region’s unique biological and water resources,” said Deborah Nardone, Executive Director of ClearWater Conservancy. “The newly acquired property will advance ClearWater Conservancy’s long-term goals for the Scotia Barrens Conservation Project and make it possible for current residents and future generations to enjoy the Barrens’ rarities and resources without diminishing their ecological integrity.”