On August 24, Wildlands Conservancy closed on a nearly 500-acre property along Blue Mountain, protecting the land forever. Purchased from the Semmel family, this acreage helps Wildlands close one of the last significant gaps in continuous preservation along Blue Mountain, which has long been a priority landscape. The ridge is not only a cradle for 100-plus miles of Appalachian Trail and a famous flyway for millions of migratory birds; it also houses wide swaths of water-cleaning forests that are critical for water quality and quantity both within and beyond the Lehigh River watershed.

The nearly 500-acre parcel expands public lands and natural areas like State Game Lands 217 and supports East Penn Township’s greenway development plans along Lizard Creek.

Christopher Kocher, president of Wildlands, said, “We protect lands like these to benefit nature and people for generations to come.”

Wildlands acknowledges the support of its giving community, especially the Appalachian Trail Conservancy through its A. T. Landscape Partnership Action Fund Grant Program, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the National Wild Turkey Federation (Walking Purchase and Jerry Zimmerman chapters) and private donations for funding the purchase of these nearly 500 acres from the Semmel  family.

For more information, read the editorial shared by the Express–Times opinion staff about value of Blue Mountain: “Wildlands Conservancy works to preserve Blue Mountain. We all win”