©Victor Motts/TNC

On June 29, 2020, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware is delighted to announce that it has acquired 127 acres of forestland in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County, with financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The parcel was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and has been added to State Game Lands 217 and is directly adjacent to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Its protection will help buffer the Trail and protect the wilderness experience along the Trail.

“The protection of this parcel represents another vital move to conserve the landscape that scientists have identified as critical to the future of a diversity of species by enabling them to migrate and adapt to a changing climate,” says Lori Brennan, Executive Director for The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The Kittatinny Ridge—also known as Blue Mountain in some regions—runs through Pennsylvania for 185 miles, from the Delaware River to the Mason-Dixon Line. The Ridge is the first prominent landscape feature you encounter as you move north or west from Philadelphia, and it marks the entrance to Pennsylvania’s Ridge and Valley region. It is one of the Commonwealth’s most treasured landscapes, providing the scenic backdrop to life in twelve counties.

The Kittatinny Ridge is designated as a Globally Important Bird Area. As a premier raptor migration corridor in the northeastern U.S., one of the leading such sites in the world, it is used by tens of thousands of hawks, eagles, and falcons each fall. The Nature Conservancy is focused on continuing to protect these critical migratory bird corridors. “The conservation of this property will provide additional open space for public recreation and further protect an important wildlife corridor,” says Victor Motts, land protection specialist with The Nature Conservancy.