WildlandsWildlands Conservancy, the premier nonprofit land trust of the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River watershed, recently announced the permanent protection of 22 acres of woodlands situated along the Kittatinny Ridge (Blue Mountain) in Washington Township, Lehigh County. The acquired acreage was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand State Game Lands #217.

Most significant, perhaps, is the exact way in which word of this opportunity reached the conservancy. Last summer, Wildlands’ conservation department received a call from a gentleman representing Mrs. Mildred Hetzer. He produced from her files a letter dated 1987, signed by Charlie Nehf, offering to purchase her 22 acres of land along the Kittatinny Ridge for $400 an acre. Mrs. Hetzer, 99 years young and in the process of settling her affairs, was curious if the per-acre offer still stood. President Christopher Kocher explained that the property was worth considerably more than the outdated offer, but the gentleman insisted that Mrs. Hetzer wished to see the property sold to conservation at the original asking price.

With that, the Pennsylvania Game Commission accepted the property, adding it to the 1.5 million acre inventory it provides for wildlife habitat and hunting.

NehfCharlie Nehf would surely be pleased. In his lifetime, the iconic conservationist, educator and sportsman protected thousands of acres of critical natural habitat on behalf of Wildlands in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission – truly irreplaceable lands like Lehigh Marshes, Segloch Run adjacent to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, and the Atlas Property

“For anyone involved in hunting, fishing, or conservation in eastern Pennsylvania, the name ‘Charlie Nehf’ is familiar,” says Christopher Kocher, president of Wildlands. “I personally had the privilege of working with him in the mid-1990s. We sadly lost Charlie 20 years ago, but here he is still protecting land today!”

About the Kittatinny Ridge (Blue Mountain)

A famed flyway for millions of migrating birds with over 100 Pennsylvanian miles of the famous Appalachian Trail in its stretch, the Kittatinny Ridge is among Wildlands’ priority landscapes. To date, Wildlands has permanently protected than 13,000 acres in this critical conservation area.

About Wildlands Conservancy

Wildlands Conservancy is the premier nonprofit land trust of the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River watershed. We’ve been creating lasting connections to nature since 1973 through land protection, environmental stewardship and education. Our mission is kept alive through the committed support of the community and like-minded businesses.

Wildlands has protected more than 54,000 acres of high-conservation value lands, it benefits more than 19,000 school-age children annually through environmental education and is perpetually focused on improving water quality and wildlife habitat within and beyond its nine nature preserves totaling more than 2,600 acres.

Wildlands’ main office, together with the Air Products Environmental Education Center, is headquartered at its 77.5-acre Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in Emmaus, Pa. For more information about the organization and its programs visit www.wildlandspa.org.

[Credit: Wildlands Conservancy, Emmaus, PA.  May 24 2016]

All images provided by Wildlands Conservancy.