In September, Wildlands Conservancy permanently protected the final 1.5 acre inholding of their Emmaus-based South Mountain Preserve. Situated in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, within the existing 350 acre nature preserve, the 1.5 acre tract is significant for the stewardship continuity it brings to South Mountain Preserve, a priority landscape for the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River

Generous donations from Jane and Michael Benning, Karen and Rick Poshefko, the South Mountain Preservation Association, and the Rodale Family Foundation enabled Wildlands to acquire the property from the Smoyer family.

“More than 40 years ago, a small group of visionary citizens gave rise to our land-trust mission by saying ‘Yes!’ to protecting South Mountain,” said Chris Kocher, president of Wildlands. “And their legacy and shared sense of place lives on today, thanks of the generosity of these like-minded individuals and organizations.”

The tract will also help buffer the Conservancy’s Wilderness Trail, which expanded the preserve’s trail network last year by establishing a new connection between Allentown’s South Mountain Park and South Mountain Preserve, which together make up the 750 acre Robert Rodale Preserve.