Sixty-two undeveloped forested acres along Loyalsock Creek in northcentral Pennsylvania are now permanently protected by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, thanks to the donation of two conservation easements on properties owned by the Yasui family.
Lise Yasui is one of five siblings who grew up with fond memories of playing in the creek and woods on their Hillsgrove Township property in Sullivan County. A strong connection to nature and ensuring their woods would remain permanently forested made for a simple decision to protect their land via a conservation easement.
“The Yasui family has enjoyed this lovely creekside property for decades,” she recalled. “It’s been the site of many family celebrations and we’ve enjoyed the clear waters for swimming, canoeing and fishing. A conservation easement on the property best assures that this small slice of heaven is protected and preserved to benefit future generations of wildlife and humans.”
The two newly protected properties border Loyalsock Creek, a major tributary to the West Branch Susquehanna, and are contiguous to the more than 114,000-acre Loyalsock State Forest and State Game Lands 134. Mostly forested with mixed hardwoods including oak, hickory and beech, the properties’ forests, streams and wildlife habitats are now protected in perpetuity as the easements restrict future subdivision and limit development detrimental to the lands conservation values.
Several groves of hemlock and white pine provide significant riparian frontage to protect and cool areas along Loyalsock Creek, a conservation priority and target stream for the Conservancy. Popular with paddlers and anglers, the 64-mile northcentral Pennsylvania trout stream was named by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year. The creek is also classified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for Cold Water Fishes and Migratory Fishes, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has designated a portion of the creek along the properties as a Keystone Select Stocked Trout Stream.
Lise Yasui, a filmmaker now living in Philadelphia, says knowing that she is doing her part to protect their local forest brings her and her family great satisfaction. The family intends to let the forests eventually mature to old-growth stands, letting nature and wildlife habitats benefit from massive trees that could reach hundreds of years old.
“These are beautiful, undeveloped properties and we appreciate the Yasui family’s gift to our region that will protect this forested area along Loyalsock Creek with a perpetual conservation easement,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy.
Shaun Fenlon, vice president for land conservation, says the Conservancy welcomes inquiries from landowners interested in learning more about donating conservation easements or other conservation options.
“This is a great example of a partnership between landowners who care deeply about their land and the Conservancy. We appreciate the trust they’ve shown us to ensure the land is protected,” he added.