Land Use & Policies

Camping is permitted on selected properties and at designated sites. Bear Run Nature Reserve is the only property with designated camping areas at this time. Sign-up for sites at Bear Run is on a first come, first served basis. At the south end of the parking lot is a kiosk where campers must leave a notice that a specific site is in use. The best guideline to follow while camping on the land is to leave with everything you brought and to leave a minimal trace of your visit.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that primitive camping is a valuable way for visitors to experience the natural qualities of the lands we conserve. We also recognize that not all lands are suitable, safe, or comfortable for camping, and are constantly evaluating the potential for this activity on all properties.

 

Climbing is permitted at designated areas only.

Climbing is a form of recreation that can bring visitors closer to natural land. However, due to threats to rock face moss communities, dry moss/lichen/fern communities at the tops of the rock faces, and moist cliff base communities, climbing is permitted in designated areas only.


 

Dogs are permitted on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy lands unless otherwise posted. Where permitted, all dogs must be on a leash, and under the control of the owner at all times.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy understands that dogs are often family members and deserve the benefits of open land, as do humans. To avoid infringing on activities of other visitors, dogs must be under control at all times.
 

Dumping any materials including private household waste, landscaping materials and municipal waste is strictly prohibited on all Western Pennsylvania Conservancy land.

Dumping of materials creates a health and human safety liability on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and other lands, as well as threatens natural resources.
 

Fishing is permitted on waters adjacent to or flowing through Western Pennsylvania Conservancy lands in accordance with PA Fish and Boat Commission regulations. The only exception to this are the waters of Bear Run beginning at the SR 381 bridge just north of the entrance to Fallingwater, to where Bear Run enters the culvert passing under the ConRail line adjacent to the Yough River. Here, no fishing is permitted.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that fishing is a wholesome recreation and should be permitted on our lands.  The exception on the lower portion of Bear Run is due to potential conflicts with Fallingwater visitors.
 

Geocaching is permitted on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property. Geocaching is an outdoor adventure game for individuals who wish to explore the land while utilizing their Global Positioning System (GPS) units. Caches are placed on the property and their locations are shared on the Internet.

Users then use their GPS unit (coordinates) to find the cache. When found, the cache provides the visitor with a “reward” such as a logbook.  Food items may not be placed in a cache. Before locating a cache on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property, individuals must first obtain an approval form which can be downloaded from WPC’s website. WPC will strictly adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. To view these regulations, go to the following website: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/geocaching.aspx.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that exploring the natural land while utilizing new technology provides a new and unique opportunity to enjoy, understand, appreciate, and learn to be good stewards of the natural wealth of western Pennsylvania.
 

Hiking, snow-shoeing, and cross country skiing are encouraged on all Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property. Visitors are asked to remain on the trails when possible and if trails exist, and to wear fluorescent orange vests during hunting season. Otherwise lands are open to nature study, bird watching, wildflower identification, and other passive uses of natural land. 

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that walking and skiing on natural land is the best way to enjoy, understand, appreciate, and learn to be good stewards of the natural wealth of western Pennsylvania. 
 

Horses are limited to designated areas only. Historically, the Kaufmann family permitted adjacent neighbors to use the trails at Bear Run Nature Reserve for horseback riding.

In keeping with this practice, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will permit landowners adjacent to Bear Run Nature Reserve access to designated horseback riding trails.  This permission is granted for a one-year trial basis. Neighbors must acquire a free annual permit by contacting the Fallingwater office at 724-329-8501 or fallingwater@paconserve.org. There are a limited number of permits available. Also, riders are required to wear fluorescent orange during hunting season.

Horseback riding is a form of recreation that can bring individuals closer to natural land. However, on unhardened trails, horseback riding can also have damaging effects.  Therefore horseback riding is limited to designated trails only.
 

Hunting & trapping are allowed on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property in accordance with Pennsylvania Game Laws. Please see attached appendix for seasons and bag limits.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy may participate as a qualified landowner in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). As a participant, WPC will receive a limited number of coupons (determined by acreage for each parcel) that it will make available to hunters, who, in turn, may redeem them for a DMAP antlerless deer permit to hunt on the property for which they are issued.

Hunters may use them during any established deer-hunting season for the applicable year. Under no circumstances may an antlered deer be taken with a DMAP permit. Hunters may not obtain more than one DMAP permit per property. However, DMAP permits do not impact a hunter’s eligibility to apply for and receive antlerless deer licenses issued for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

DMAP permit allotments are not part of the annual general antlerless deer license allocations for WMUs. Hunters must mail DMAP coupons, along with a check for $6 made payable to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to the address listed on the coupon to receive their DMAP antlerless deer permit. The permit can be used to harvest one antlerless deer on the specific DMAP property. For further information on WPC’s participation in DMAP, visit Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s website at www.paconserve.org, or call 412-288-2777.  For further information on DMAP, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at www.pgc.state.pa.us

Permanent tree stands are not permitted on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property. Hunters must acquire a free annual permit before hunting at Bear Run Nature Reserve and must abide by all areas posted no hunting or safety zone. Contact the Fallingwater office at 724-329-8501 or fallingwater@paconserve.org to request Bear Run Nature Reserve hunting permits, maps of the safety zones and no hunting areas.

More than one million individuals practice hunting in Pennsylvania. It is an important economic activity in the state, a form of recreation, and an effective management tool.  The Conservancy believes that present deer populations in Pennsylvania are excessive, and resulting ecological damage to forests in the state is accelerating. We believe that presently, an effective means to retain some control over excessive populations is to allow hunting.
 

Pesticide/Herbicide use cannot be used on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy lands without prior approval of staff. This policy is site specific.

The Conservancy recognizes that appropriate pesticide use may be necessary under certain situations but may also be detrimental and unnecessary at other times. Pesticide and herbicide use will be determined on a site-by-site basis and will only be used by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy staff or a licensed contractor.
 

Removal of plants, animals and other objects  including fossils is prohibited on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy properties.  This includes picking and collection of plants (flowers, trees, mosses, fungi, lycopodiums, etc), animals not otherwise covered under the Pa. Game and Fish laws, as well as invertebrates, and inorganic materials such as rocks and minerals.

Introduction of exotic plants and animals is prohibited. Introduction of native plants and animals is by permission only and on a case-by-case basis. For permission, requests must be forwarded to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Stewardship Coordinator.

Scientific collection of plants, animals, prehistoric artifacts, and other inorganic materials is by written permission only. Specimens must be deposited in a public depository such as a museum or other academic institution. For permission, requests must be forwarded to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Stewardship Coordinator.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes removal of natural materials can lead to damage in a variety of ways and that our lands are primarily intended to retain as much of their natural qualities as possible. 

We recognize that there are times when scientific collection is a valuable tool to further understand land and its ecological functions. We will grant written permission for collection that furthers our understanding of the land that will be properly cared for, and made available to the overall scientific community.  Redundant collections may be required.
 

Research focused on ecology and species is encouraged. Any party interested in conducting appropriate research on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property is requested to submit a pre-proposal to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Stewardship Coordinator. 

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy encourages appropriate research to further our knowledge of species and natural processes.
 

Scuba (skin) diving is permitted at Lake Pleasant, a 64-acre glacial lake located in Northeastern Erie County. Groups must first obtain a special activities permit from the Fish and Boat Commission’s northwest regional office.

This lake is one of the most significant natural areas in northwestern Pennsylvania. The lake and surrounding wetlands support 24 plant species as well as two fish species of special concern in Pennsylvania. Individuals are not permitted to remove plants, animals and other objects from the lake as stated in the section titled REMOVAL OF PLANTS, ANIMALS, AND OTHER OBJECTS.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy encourages appropriate research to further our knowledge of species and natural processes. Removal of natural materials can lead to damage in a variety of ways and that our lands are primarily intended to retain as much of their natural qualities as possible. 
 

Vehicles are NOT permitted on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property except in designated parking areas. Vehicles include all-terrain vehicle (ATV), dirt bikes, mountain bicycles, quads, trikes, amphibious craft, snowmobiles, cars and trucks.

Motorized boats are not permitted on Lake Pleasant. 

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that vehicles are inappropriate on conservation lands due to the physical damage, conflicts with passive recreation, and noise and pollution that result.

 

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