On January 4, The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) announced the protection of more than 156 acres along the Evitts Mountain ridgeline in Bedford County. The property was immediately transferred to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry to become a new addition to Buchanan State Forest.

This land is adjacent to the 1,769-acre Hardwood Trails property the Conservancy acquired in 2011 and conveyed to DCNR as part of the state forest. This newest addition to Buchanan State Forest brings its total acreage to 69,859, spanning across Franklin, Fulton, and Bedford counties.

“Bedford County is an important place for land protection for the Conservancy. To date, we have added more than 2,000 acres to Buchanan State Forest,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of WPC. “We are glad to protect more of this Evitts Mountain ridgeline, with its expansive forest and great views, tying together protected forests across Pennsylvania and Maryland with this connection.”

Located at the border of Maryland, the property protected today connects the former Hardwood Trails property to Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland, creating an unbroken corridor of protected land across the two states.

“Now hikers and hunters can explore nature across two states without worrying about public access to the land – from Allegheny County in Maryland to Bedford County in Pennsylvania,” said Michael Knoop, land protection manager at WPC.

Beyond its scenic and recreational value, this property is forested and sits on the edge of more than 16,900 acres of core forest that spans from Martin Hill along Evitts Mountain to Maryland.

“Just as valuable to DCNR as its people and programs are its strong partnerships with conservation-based organizations, and for decades there have been few stronger than that with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We applaud this acquisition and are appreciative of the value it brings to Buchanan State Forest’s almost 70,000 acres. Birders, hikers, hunters and other visitors to this Bedford County tract can only feel the same.”

DCNR provided the lead funding for the purchase of this property through a grant from the Community Conservation Partnership Program and funding from the Bureau of Forestry. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided additional funding to support transaction-related expenses.