Photo by Victor Motts.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Pennsylvania and Delaware today announced that it has closed on the purchase of 240 acres located in Bear Creek Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The parcel will be transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for addition to State Game Land 91 and adjoins the 50,000-acre Pinchot State Forest managed by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.

The protected acreage is located in the upper Delaware River headwaters, a critical ecosystem for migratory fish and a source of high-quality drinking water for millions of people across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and New Jersey. TNC conserves forested lands in the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, along the Kittatinny Ridge and in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, work with landowners, recreational organizations, and state agencies to protect and connect high-quality forests and floodplains.

The parcel was facilitated with funding from the William Penn Foundation via the Open Space Institute (OSI), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Conservation and Recreation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

“TNC is excited to continue our legacy of conservation in the Upper Delaware headwaters and we remain committed to preserving upstream ecosystems that protect forests, floodplains and fish while also helping our cities become more resilient in the face of more extreme storm events,” said Keith Fisher, Director of Conservation for TNC in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The project was supported by OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, which seeks to protect water quality in the Delaware River Basin. The Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund is made possible with funding from the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative. Launched in 2014, the Fund has protected more than 21,000 acres of forested land to filter the Delaware River Watershed, a source of drinking water for approximately 15 million people — including residents of northeastern Pennsylvania as well as Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and New York City.

“When kept intact, forests are one of the most effective methods of protecting the drinking water resources of 15 million residents within the Delaware River Watershed,” said Bill Rawlyk, OSI’s Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator. “We applaud The Nature Conservancy for their dogged efforts to see this land secured for clean drinking water and public use and enjoyment forever.”

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About The Nature Conservancy: TNC is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners.


This post adapted from a release by TNC PA/DE.