On June 30, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased a 30-acre property located in the headwaters of Laurel Hill Creek in Jefferson Township, Somerset County, that become a new addition to Laurel Ridge State Park.

This property, which is adjacent to the park, provides significant water quality protection and features 2,500 feet of frontage on Shaffer Run, a major tributary to Laurel Hill Creek. An average of approximately 1.4 million gallons of water per day flow from four natural artesian groundwater springs located on the property. The property also includes forested wetlands adjacent to the springs.
The permanent conservation of the forests, wetlands, and springs on this property will play an important role in protecting water quality and quantity in Laurel Hill Creek, a significant ecological and recreational asset for the Laurel Highlands region.

The Conservancy immediately conveyed this land to Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of State Parks to become part of Laurel Ridge State Park.

“DCNR prides itself in 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. “This latest addition to Laurel Ridge State Park is to be applauded, and surely will be appreciated by the almost 70,000 who visit the park each year.”

The Conservancy recently protected another 184-acre property that was also conveyed to DCNR to become part of Laurel Hill State Park. Conservancy President and CEO Tom Saunders said Laurel Hill Creek has been identified by the Conservancy as a priority stream for protection, so conserving properties within its watershed is a priority.

“We are pleased to continue partnering with DCNR to help protect the region’s water quality and the natural and recreational value of this important creek,” Saunders added. “This is another wonderful addition to the protection of lands in the Laurel Hill Creek watershed.”

Conservation of this land was made possible through the generosity of the family of B. Kenneth Simon and through funding from DCNR.