The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced the purchase of a conservation easement to permanently protect and limit development on a 289-acre forested property in Cook Township, Westmoreland County.

The property provides more than a half mile of frontage along two tributary streams, Campbelle Run and one unnamed, within the Fourmile Run and the larger Loyalhanna Creek watersheds.

The property is surrounded by other large tracts of forestland along Chestnut Ridge. Portions of the property fall within and are adjacent to the Campbelle Run Natural Heritage Area, which hosts important native habitats that support species of special concern such as the buffalo-nut shrub mainly found in the Appalachian Mountains.

“This project is a continuation of efforts by the Conservancy to enhance the scenic character and values of the Ligonier Valley landscape while protecting priority riparian lands, streams and wildlife habitat corridors,” says Conservancy President and CEO Thomas Saunders. “This conservation easement will protect the forest along this stream, which has wildlife benefits, helps mitigate the effects of climate change, and protects the beautiful forested views in the area.”

This private land is protected via a conservation easement, a land protection option available to landowners who want to continue owning their property while preserving the land’s conservation values in perpetuity. Easements are permanent deed restrictions that limit future development of the land.

Conservation of this land was made possible, thanks to grants from the following foundations: Richard King Mellon, Hillman, Katherine Mabis McKenna and Babcock Charitable Trust. Funding was also provided by individuals who made donations to support land conservation in the Ligonier Valley.

To date, the Conservancy has permanently protected nearly 27,000 acres of land in the Ligonier Valley, of which more than 10,000 are through conservation easements.