Ligonier Valley Program
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has long recognized the Ligonier Valley as a special place. Stretching between the forested flanks of Laurel and Chestnut ridges in Westmoreland County, the valley features rolling farmland, scenic vistas, historic structures, clear streams, and the charming town of Ligonier.
Since the 1970s, WPC has been working to conserve the unique features of the Ligonier Valley. WPC's Mountain Streams project has added 9,600 acres of land to Forbes State Forest in the valley, while more than 10,000 acres of private land has been protected through conservation easements. This long history of conservation successes is the result of collaboration and a shared vision between WPC and many landowners in the valley. Through the Ligonier Valley Program, WPC seeks to expand protection of the natural features in the valley. Employing a variety of conservation techniques, the program will work with the local community to protect and enhance the unique natural character of the Ligonier Valley.
The Ligonier Valley Program protects land primarily through conservation easements. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and WPC that places permanent limits on the future development of the property. Each easement is unique, and is written to protect the conservation values of the land. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land, as well as sell it or pass it on to heirs. The landowner still decides who may enter the property and for what purpose. Future owners also will be bound by the easement's terms. WPC is responsible for ensuring that the easement's terms are followed. Other land protection options, including land donations and "bargain sales," are available and can be discussed with the WPC staff.
Preserved land ensures that residents and visitors to the Ligonier Valley will continue to enjoy the beautiful vistas that define the valley. Open spaces are not only scenic, they also provide services that help reduce infrastructure costs. Open spaces protect drinking water supplies, keep air temperatures cooler, recharge groundwater for wells, protect streams, absorb air pollution, and reduce flooding. Individual landowners benefit from the Ligonier Valley Program by gaining assurance that the land they love will be protected forever. Land protection may also result in considerable income tax savings for the landowner, and may help keep the land in the family by reducing estate taxes.
Mike Kuzemchak, Ligonier Valley Program Coordinator, is available to meet with landowners in the valley who are interested in permanently protecting their land. Mike may be reached at (724) 238-2492, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.