Select a period to view key milestones in our history.
1932 to 1962
Birth of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy under its former name — Greater Pittsburgh Parks Association. First large project: landscaping of park along Pittsburgh's Bigelow Boulevard.
Acquisition of McConnells Mill and Slippery Rock gorge property in Lawrence County for creation of McConnell’s Mill State Park. In 1974, the park was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark.
Ferncliff Peninsula at Ohiopyle in Fayette County acquired through a gift from Edgar J. Kaufmann Charitable Trust. In 1974, Ferncliff was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark.
Natural area acquired in Butler County to create Jennings Nature Reserve. Additional land was acquired in 1962 and 1969 to total 310 acres. This land is now known as Jennings Environmental Education Center and is owned by Bureau of State Parks. Named for the famous botanist, Dr. Otto Emery Jennings, the reserve includes a relict prairie where the wildflower blazing star (Liatris spicata) blooms each August.
Acquired Heiner Memorial, a wildflower-covered slope along Bear Creek in Butler County.
3,000 acres acquired along Muddy Creek in Butler County as the nucleus for Moraine State Park.
Buchanan Run acquired: 104-acres of hemlock-hardwood forest in scenic, steep-walled ravine, Lawrence County.
Acquired 300-acre Wildflower Reserve in Raccoon Creek valley, in Beaver County. Considered to be the finest stand of native wildflowers in southwestern Pennsylvania. Now owned and operated by Bureau of State Parks.
Nearly 10,000 acres assembled along the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County for the creation of 0hiopyle State Park — ultimately to become the largest state park in Pennsylvania.
1963 to 1979
Kaufmann Conservation on Bear Run, Fayette County, entrusted to WPC by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. Includes Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and 3,600-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve.
Old Stone House, Butler County, acquired and restored. This popular 19th-century inn is now owned by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater opens for public tours. More than four million visitors from around the world have since toured the famous house on the waterfall.
Conservancy coordinates restoration of Johnston Tavern (Mercer County) — a boarding house and a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Now owned by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
897 acquired acres in Venango County and transferred the land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for creation of Oil Creek State Park.
Assembled 11,230 acres assembled along Laurel Ridge, from the Youghiogheny River to the Conemaugh River. This land was conveyed to the Commonwealth as a substantial part of Laurel Ridge State Park and the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
1,200-acre Schollard's Run Wetlands acquired in Mercer County and sold to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Purchased 1,900 acres along the Conemaugh Gorge in Indiana and Westmoreland Counties and sold to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Wattsburg Bog, in Erie County, acquired; site of a unique stand of rare, wild orchids. 1970 Small fen measuring less than one acre is purchased in Lawrence County to protect a stand of the beautiful wildflower, fringed gentian.
More than 9,182 acres of shoreline and islands acquired in the Allegheny River corridor from Warren County to Allegheny County. Most of this land has been transferred to the Allegheny National Forest. Among the 16 islands acquired were Nine and Fourteen Mile Islands, donated by McDonough Corporation of Parkersburg, West Virginia; and Nicholson Island, donated by Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh.
Conservancy assembles 9,500 acres of wild mountain land along the west slope of Laurel Hill in Westmoreland and Somerset Counties. Known as the "Mountain Streams" Project, this wild area has three sparkling-clear streams and includes the 3,000-acre Roaring Run Natural Area.
Aided by a grant from Thomas Hay Walker of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, WPC assists the Bureau of State Parks in restoration of Frankfort Mineral Springs, a 19th-century health spa adjoining Raccoon Creek State Park, Beaver County.
Laurel Hill Furnace, Westmoreland County, donated to the Conservancy by the Reidenouer family. This historic structure is one of the best-preserved old iron blast furnaces in the state.
16-acre tract in Allegheny County donated to the Conservancy by the Henrici heirs. The land and home have been transferred to Allegheny County.
148-acre natural area near Zelienople transferred at cost to Butler County.
Acquired 395-acre Pine Swamp in Mercer County. It is an unusual raised bog more commonly found in Maine, eastern Canada, and Alaska.
Acquired 935 acres in Conneaut Marsh (State Game Land 213), Crawford County, and sold to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. One of the most significant wetlands in Pennsylvania, Conneaut Marsh has two of the state's four known nesting American bald eagles.
280 acres of key lands added along the upper reaches of the Youghiogheny River and adjacent to Ohiopyle State Park in Somerset and Fayette Counties.
Acquired 88 acres in Potter County—an important tract within Susquehannock State Forest near the Hammersley Fork Wild Area. The land has been conveyed to the Bureau of State Forests.
Acquired 32-acre Miller Esker, a glacial formation in Butler County near Moraine State Park.
A key 5-acre indenture purchased for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Middlecreek Waterfowl Management Area in Lancaster County.
The Chessie System donates to the Conservancy the abandoned 22-mile Indian Creek Valley Railway running from Kregar in Westmoreland County to the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County.
Acquired Tryon-Weber Woods, an 84-acre tract of mature American beech-sugar maple woods in Crawford County—considered to be one of the finest of its kind in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve established in Fox Chapel, Allegheny County, through a donation of 90 acres from Mrs. John F. Walton, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr. The largest private nature reserve in Allegheny County, Beechwood Farms is operated by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Evans Nature Center, the focal point of the reserve, was made possible through a grant from Mrs. John Berdan and the Thomas Raymond Evans Foundation of Pittsburgh.
1,275 acres acquired in Fulton County as an addition to State Game Land 53.
190 acres purchased in the upper Pine Creek gorge in Tioga County and conveyed to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.
98 acres in Fulton County donated to the Conservancy by golfer Arnold Palmer and Latrobe contractor John M. Ridilla, for addition to State Game Land 53.
Large art bequest willed to the Conservancy by Dorothy Kantner of Somerset, Pennsylvania, granddaughter of the well-known 19th-century Pittsburgh artist, George Hetzel. The bequest included many paintings by Mr. Hetzel and his daughter, Lila; the Hetzel home and studio, and 150 acres of land.
500 acres in Bedford County acquired from Judge Richard C. Snyder and Hubert L. Snyder for addition to State Game Land 97. In recognition of the conservation programs carried out on the land by the Snyder family, the tract has been designated the "Snyder Wildlife and Conservation Area."
224-acre private inholding acquired within Michaux State Forest, Cumberland County. Once threatened by second home development, the land is now part of the state forest.
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy transfers deed to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 17 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way from Confluence to Bruner Run in the Youghiogheny River gorge in Fayette County. This land is part of a 27-mile right-of-way that the Conservancy acquired from the Chessie System in 1978.
Conservancy assembles 12,670 acres of wild mountain land in Clinton and Centre Counties for the creation of a major new State Game Land (#295). The largest project in Conservancy history, this tract is best known for its famed wilderness trout stream—Cherry Run. The Cherry Run Project also protects four other mountain streams and nearly 20 square miles of game-rich forestland.
Significant five-acre inholding acquired in State Game Land 42 along Baldwin and Powdermill Runs in Westmoreland County and sold to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Conservancy purchases 100-acre Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area in Butler County. The site is famous for its spectacular display of spring wildflowers.
In its first project in Greene County, WPC acquires the 1,152-acre Lone Star Farm for addition to State Game Land No. 223.
The Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation and the Roger M. Latham Memorial Scholarship Fund are established at Penn State University.
Evans Nature Center, near Pittsburgh, is dedicated at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve.
The Fallingwater Visitor's Pavilion is constructed.
WPC protects 175 additional acres at Conneaut Marsh, where several small purple fringed orchis (Platanthera psycodes) are found for the first time.
The Pennsylvania Heritage program is founded.
Acquisitions for the 9,182-acre Allegheny River Project now total 22 separate land parcels and 16 islands following the purchase of five additional land parcels and three islands to be conveyed to the Allegheny National Forest.
WPC adds 102 acres to Pine Swamp Natural Area off Route 965 between Jackson Center and Perrine Corners in Mercer County.
WPC acquires a key “missing link” in the Bear Run Watershed by protecting an additional 143 acres in the uppermost portion of the watershed at the very origins of Bear Run.
WPC updates members on the Clarion River Project; by January 1982, more than 4,800 acres of land and 18 miles of shoreline are protected.
In late summer, WPC purchases Deer Creek Access, a 7.6-acre parcel at the confluence of Deer Creek in Harmar Township along the Allegheny River's northern shore and across from 12-mile Island; to be sold to the Pennsylvania Fish Commission for free public access.
In the fall, WPC acquires a 57-acre tract that borders the extreme southern part of Bear Run Nature Reserve to serve as a buffer between the reserve and private land and to provide further protection to the watershed.
WPC saves additional habitat for Pennsylvania's restored elk herd with the purchase of 176 acres, which is added to Elks State Forest, in Elk and Cameron counties.
WPC facilitates a land/mineral transaction that provides protection to Hells Run Hollow at McConnells Mill State Park by conveying a 68-acre parcel in the Hells Run watershed to the Commonwealth to become part of the park.
WPC improves public access to Wolf Creek Narrows northwest of Slippery Rock, Butler County by acquiring 15 acres of heavily wooded land at the southern end of the gorge.
WPC reports the sale of 3,524 acres on both sides of the lower 10-mile stretch of the Clarion River, from Cooksburg to Piney Dam, to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and sells a four-acre parcel south of Cooksburg to the state fish commission for free boating and fishing access.
WPC reaches a milestone by enrolling 10,000 members on Aug. 23, 1983, with membership swelling to nearly 11,000 members from all 50 states.
WPC continues its work on the Clarion River Project with the purchase of a heavily wooded, 245-acre tract in Millstone Township, Elk County in the upper 30-mile section of the river and 76 acres of wooded hillsides adjacent to State Game Lands 44 in Elk County for sale to the state game commission.
Bear Run Nature Reserve grows with the acquisition of 173 acres.
WPC ends eight years of negotiations with the purchase of 32 acres of land adjacent to Beechwood Farm's northern boundary, making it 33 percent larger at 120 acres.
The Great Tomato Patch raises more than 77,000 pounds of tomatoes and fresh produce near Tarentum for needy families in the Greater Pittsburgh Area through the efforts of WPC, Mellon Bank, the Allegheny County Department of Parks and the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
The 1984 year-end drive nets nearly $116,000, which tops the previous high in 1982, the year of our 50th anniversary appeal. Funds from the drive supported the creation of the Hickory Creek federal wilderness area.
WPC provides an integral component of the state Fish and Boat Commission's salmon program at Lake Erie by purchasing the nursery property at the mouth of Godfrey Run, where the fish commission obtains the eggs and milt for the salmon hatchery. This parcel was sold to the fish commission.
WPC links Gallitzin State Forest, State Game Lands 26, and Blue Knob State Park with the acquisition of 1,537 wild, remote acres on Allegheny Mountain in the corners of Bedford, Cambria, and Somerset counties, for addition to State Game Land 26.
WPC acquires the 6.8-acre Tytoona Cave site, northeast of Altoona and six miles south of Tyrone, and names it Tytoona Cave Natural Area.
WPC member and Titusville resident Ray Gerard coordinates the creation of a 31-mile Oil Creek hiking trail; on Nov. 21, 1986, a new pedestrian footbridge over Oil Creek, a joint project of WPC and the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, is dedicated.
The 1,000-acre Enlow Fork Natural Area, home to Blue-eyed Mary wildflowers, is protected through the efforts of WPC, Consolidated Coal (Consol) of Pittsburgh, and two public agencies and is sold to the state game commission to create State Game Land 302.
In late 1986, WPC buys a 75-acre tract in the southern corner of Bear Run Nature Reserve to further consolidate the area and provide a broader umbrella of protection for its many natural features.
The 50th anniversary season of Fallingwater sees a substantial rise in visitation to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterwork with attendance reaching 92,000.
Fallingwater, A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House, by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. is published; a television special, The House on the Waterfall, is produced by Pittsburgh's WQED-TV; and The Friends of Fallingwater, a national fund-raising membership drive for Fallingwater, is launched.
WPC continues its work on the Clarion River Project with the acquisition of a 674-acre tract in the northern stretch of the river above Hallton, bringing the total property to 6,833 acres.
For the first time in WPC history, membership exceeds 14,000.
WPC reports that it now owns 1,275 acres of the Loyalhanna Gorge.
WPC acquires a 431-acre canoe access on the west branch of the Susquehanna River between Karthus and Keating in Centre and Clinton counties to be transferred, at cost, to the Bureau of Forestry.
In late 1987, WPC completes it most complex transaction to date with the acquisition of oil, gas and mineral rights at Tionesta Research Natural Area (TRNA) which is home to trees more than 500 years old.
In early October, WPC announces its acquisition of a rare stand of old growth white pine and hemlocks just west of Warren; the 96-acre Anders Run Natural Area is near Buckaloons Recreation Area on the Allegheny River.
In 1987, a record 104,000 visitors from around the world visit Fallingwater.
WPC's Allegheny River Project continues to move forward with the acquisition of a 430-acre tract on the west side of the Allegheny River between West Hickory and Tionesta in Forest County.
WPC acquires 40 more acres at Conneaut Marsh (State Game Land 213) to be transferred, at cost, for addition to State Game Lands 213.
WPC partners with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to sponsor PennACCORD, the state's first center for resolution of environmental disputes.
WPC and the Audubon Society team up to open the newest attraction at Beechwood Farms, a 40-acre native plant sanctuary.
On April 22, the Fallingwater program The House on the Waterfall is broadcast nationally on PBS.
WPC acquires two parcels totaling 880 acres on the Allegheny River in the Warren/Tidioute area within Allegheny National Forest, paving the way for a new biking/hiking trail planned by the Tidioute Area Development Association.
WPC adds 165 acres to the Pine Swamp Natural Area with the addition of two new parcels, further consolidating the 639-acre natural area.
WPC is given the 380-acre farm of Elizabeth M. Totten of Plaingrove, Lawrence County for Plain Grove Fens Natural Area, featuring the Pennsylvania Endangered spreading globe flower.
WPC donates Evans Nature Center at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve and the surrounding four acres to the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
After 25 years of negotiations, WPC in late 1989 purchases 16 acres of privately owned streamside property near Drake Well Park to be added to Oil Creek State Park.
WPC protects 2,731 acres for the Laurel Highlands Conservation Project, including three separate parcels totaling 1,036 acres in the Quebec Run Wild Area.
WPC gives six miles (62 acres) of abandoned Indian Creek Valley Railway right-of-way to Saltlick Township, Fayette County for a new hiking/biking trail.
WPC, which acquired 32 acres for Wattsburg Fen Natural Area in 1969, acquires an additional 251 acres at the natural area.
WPC brings the total land in the Clarion River Project to nearly 7,700 acres with the acquisition of 418 acres.
Mrs. Robert Kirkpatrick of Pittsburgh makes possible the addition of 67 acres to Bear Run Nature Reserve.
WPC starts a pilot Farm and Woodland Program to protect open space, preserve scenic beauty and raise capital funds.
In August, WPC purchases for the state a 7,225 acre in-holding of private land in the central portion of Sproul State Forest near the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and north of Renovo.
In October, WPC acquired a 22-acre property contiguous to State Game Lands 174 in the northeastern part of Indiana County near Glen Campbell.
WPC protects a strategic French Creek access, a 1.4-acre parcel of streamside land located north of the Utica Bridge between the creek and the railroad tracks, to be conveyed to the Fish and Game Commission.
WPC acquires United States Steel property in Erie County to create a new 3,131-acre state game lands that will be named the “David M. Roderick Wildlife Reserve” in honor of the former USX board chairman.
WPC continues its work on the Clarion River Project by adding 400 acres, which involves five parcels of land near Clarington in Forest and Jefferson counties. WPC receives title to the 400 acres of land for timber rights that are granted to Collins Pine Company of Kane, Pa.
As part of the Allegheny River Project, WPC acquires a 61-acre riverside campground/boat launch area two miles north of Tionesta and across the river from the state Fish and Game Commission access for addition to Allegheny National Forest.
A 75-acre forested parcel near DuBois in Clearfield County is the first gift to WPC's Farm and Woodlands Program. The second gift is 377 acres of forest and farmland featuring a native trout stream near Galeton in Potter County.
WPC buys a 2,200 acre private in-holding in the northwest portion of Sproul State Forest as well as the oil, gas and mineral rights for the land in order to consolidate public holdings, eliminate improper development and make forest management easier.
WPC protects 67 acres containing Sideling Hill Creek barrens, the largest shale barren along the Pennsylvania portion of the stream.
WPC continues its work on the Laurel Highlands Conservation Project by acquiring 96 acres adjacent to the Quebec Run Wild Area of Forbes State Forest for addition to Forbes State Forest.
WPC acquired a 22-acre campground near Tionestaand and five islands, known as the Siggias Island Complex, in the Allegheny River, increasing to 21 the total number of islands that WPC has acquired in the river.
WPC conveys the last nine miles of right-of-way for the Youghiogheny River Bike Trail to the Commonwealth, which will extend the bike trail from Bruner Run to near Connellsville.
WPC gives the Laurel Hill Furnace, located two miles from New Florence, Pa., to the Ligonier Valley Historical Society.
WPC adds 1,645 acres to Quebec Run Wild Area in the Laurel Highlands of Fayette County.
WPC protects 149 acres in Greene County with the sale of two properties to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand State Game Land 223.
The Nature Conservancy presents WPC with a gift of 69 acres in the Sideling Hill Creek Valley, an area of national importance in Fulton County.
WPC acquires mineral (coal and gas) rights on 2,061 acres in Moshannon State Forest, located in the west branch of the Susquehanna River watershed.
Three additional tracts, two in Somerset County and one in Westmoreland county, have been acquired as part of WPC’s Farm and Woodlands program.
The acquisition of a 52-acre inholding in the Susquehannock State Forest to be transferred, at cost, to the state Department of Environmental Resources (DER).
In June, WPC acquires the 11,300-acre President Oil property between Tionesta and Oil City. It is renowned for its wild lands and high-quality trout streams.
WPC's Pittsburgh Park and Playground Fund wins a Renew America 1993 National Environmental Achievement Award.
WPC protects 32 acres at Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Crawford County by purchasing surface oil, gas and mineral rights on the land, to be sold at cost to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
WPC, which in 1989 acquired four parcels totaling 1,645 acres at Quebec Run Wild Area, announces that it has purchased the balance of the oil and gas rights on the property and will transfer them, at cost, to the state Department of Environmental Resources (DER).
WPC announces that 67 acres of rural property in Butler County has been donated to its Farm and Woodlands Program by Mrs. J. Lewis (Ruth) Scott of Pittsburgh.
The 1994 year-end fund drive reaches $202,000, exceeding the previous year's amount by more than $42,000, with all proceeds to go to the Mountain Streams II project.
Travel & Leisure magazine ranks the Youghiogheny River Bike Trail in Fayette County as “one of the 19 best walks in the world.”
After 10 years of negotiations, WPC, with help from The Nature Conservancy, acquires 206 acres of shoreline, wetlands, and uplands surrounding Lake Pleasant, three miles northwest of Arbuckle in Erie County.
WPC receives 98 acres in Spring Creek Township, Warren County that borders State Game Land 143 from Donald M. Alstadt of Erie.
On the 21st anniversary of its Mountain Streams Project, WPC announces the purchase of 2442 acres of wild lands with exceptional trout waters in Westmoreland County from the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County for $1.8 million. This land is added to Forbes State Forest.
With major funding from the Wildlife International Foundation, WPC protects its 18th natural area, Lutzville Cliffs, an eight-acre limestone cliff and slope above the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Bedford County.
In early May, WPC partners with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Allegheny College for the French Creek Project.
WPC mourns the loss of Maurice K. Goddard (1912-1995), who died on Sept. 14, 1995 as a result of injuries suffered in a fire at his Camp Hill, Pa. home. He was described as “Pennsylvania's top environmentalist for 25 years,” retiring in 1979 as Secretary of the DER.
In December 1995, WPC acquires a 548-acre tract in Spring Creek Township south of Ridgway as part of the Clarion River Project. To date, 8,062 acres are protected through this project.
The 1995 Year-end Fund Drive Appeal raises nearly $159,000, which is earmarked for the protection of Lake Pleasant.
On Oct. 19, 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton signs legislation that makes a 51.7-mile stretch of the Clarion River part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
Through a cooperative agreement with Butler County, WPC purchases a 14.5-acre property near the entrance to Alameda Park, a 407-acre county park adjacent to Butler.
WPC unveils Penn's Wood Partners, a new planned giving program that offers donors the chance to provide for WPC in their financial and estate planning.
WPC protects 200 acres near Elk State Forest in Elk and Cameron counties for addition to State Game Land 311.
WPC continues the Mountain Streams Project by acquiring 124 acres at the western edge of the original Mountain Streams property to be added to Forbes State Forest.
In February, WPC buys Pittsburgh's oldest commercial building at 209 Fourth Avenue and renovates the 161-year-old structure for its offices.
WPC acquires nine tracts totaling 1,341 acres in the Clarion River watershed as it continues work on the Clarion River Project.
M. Graham Netting, a friend of WPC and a director for more than 50 years, dies on August 26.
Sixty-one-year-old Fallingwater is shored to prevent further deflections until a design solution can be developed to repair the cantilevers; meanwhile, an unrelated concrete restoration project is underway.
WPC acquires its 200,000th acre; currently, it has more than 25,000 acres of land and 10,000 acres of easements.
On Aug. 1, 1997, WPC and the Horticultural Society of Western Pennsylvania (HSWP) agree to work together for mutual benefit. The decision follows HSWP's receipt of a lease agreement from Allegheny County for the development of a botanical garden at Settler's Cabin Park.
WPC receives the 1997 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence in the category of Energy Efficiency/Renewables. The award is given to WPC because of its action in reducing energy use, minimizing waste and promoting the use of reused and reusable building materials at its headquarters in Pittsburgh.
WPC agrees to undertake the Three Rivers Parkway Project to create a beautiful natural landscape along the Parkway West Corridor from downtown Pittsburgh to the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Forty Pittsburgh public schools come alive with flowers in the second year of the School Garden Initiative.
WPC receives a donation of 72 acres in the Sideling Hill Creek Valley in south central Pennsylvania from Christopher and Missy Lipsett.
WPC president Larry Schweiger signs an agreement to sell the 11,000-acre H.J. Crawford reserve, located between Tionesta and Oil City in Venango County, to Chagrin Land Limited Partnership, an affiliate of Industrial Timber & Land Company (ITL).
On April 7, peregrine falcon eggs hatch in a nest on the 37th floor ledge of the Gulf Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. The hatching is earlier than expected and includes more eggs than usual. WPC's Charles Bier and volunteers built and placed the nest atop the Gulf Tower.
A study of Fallingwater guests who toured the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece finds that nearly nine out of every 10 Fallingwater visitors live outside of the area.
The WPC board of directors agrees to buy part of Tamarack Swamp in Centre County. A total of 351 acres are purchased.
100 WPC volunteers, with Duquesne Light and The Pittsburgh Project, complete nine hours of planting The Welcome Garden, using more than 30,000 flowers, at the entrance to the Fort Pitt Tunnels.
WPC acquires the 103-acre Shipley tract in Bedford County from the heirs of the estate of Stanley Shipley to provide further protection to the Sideling Hill Creek watershed.
In the summer, WPC's Natural Heritage staff completes County Natural Heritage Inventories (CNHI) for Bedford and Westmoreland counties.
WPC celebrates the designation of the Sideling Hill Creek Watershed as “Exceptional Value” watershed by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
First Lady Hillary Clinton names Fallingwater as a recipient of the Save America's Treasures grant program. WPC receives $901,000 for the renovation of Fallingwater. U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, Johnstown, is pivotal in securing the Save America's Treasures grant as well as gifts of $200,000 and $500,000 for a state-of-the-art, zero-discharge wastewater treatment plant at Fallingwater.
WPC protects vegetation by setting up 12 by 12 foot exclosures, or fenced-in areas, on the Fox Chapel Trillium Trail, a popular wildflower area affected by deer browsing beginning in 1993.
WPC partners with AgRecycle, Inc., Eichenlaub, Inc., the City of Pittsburgh and Point State Park for a project to process more than 37 tons of waste tires into Crown III Crumb Rubber surface layering to be spread over more than 37,000 square feet of lawn at Point State Park.
The French Creek project – a partnership project of WPC, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Allegheny College -- earns Renew America's National Award for Sustainability in the freshwater/watershed category.
WPC purchases the 13.69-acre Fellowship of the Cross Campground bordering the western shoreline of Lake Pleasant in northeastern Erie County.
The peregrine falcon is removed from the federal list of Endangered and Threatened Species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Aug. 20.
WPC establishes a second field station by purchasing land at Lake Pleasant.
WPC kicks off its Volunteer Land Stewardship Program in 1999 to care for WPC's nearly 20,000 acres of lands and 20,000 acres of easements.
WPC garden projects are created for the first time in State College, Clarion, Waynesburg and Donora.
“Pittsburgh: The City That Blooms!”, a project of WPC and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, is launched with 246 hanging baskets suspended along several busy downtown Pittsburgh streets with funding by the Grable Foundation.
WPC loses a friend and supporter with the passing of Faith Gallo, who served as a consultant on many WPC projects.
2000 - Present
In March, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge visits Fallingwater and presents a $3.5 million grant to restore the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. The house is named a “Commonwealth Treasure” by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. To date, $7.2 million has been secured for the project. Gov. Ridge's visit is covered on WPC's first-ever webcast at its Web site. The new Web site, www.paconserve.org, is unveiled just prior to Ridge's visit.
WPC opens its new field office at Lake Pleasant in Erie County. It focuses on working with residents in developing and implementing a conservation plan for the French Creek watershed.
A total of 350,000 flowers are planted in 400 community gardens throughout 30 counties in western Pennsylvania by 5,000 volunteers.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signs into law the landmark “Growing Greener” bill, which passed in December 1999 by both the state house and senate by an overwhelming majority. It provide $645.9 million over five years for environmental programs.
WPC announces it is installing a new water supply and an innovative “zero discharge” wastewater treatment system at Fallingwater to better meet visitation needs and environmental goals for the site.
WPC acquires two tracts bringing the total WPC-owned acreage at Lake Pleasant to 264 acres.
WPC acquires 77 acres along Brokenstraw Creek near Warren, Pa., which is the only known location of white adders-mouth orchid (Malaxis brachypoda) in Pennsylvania.
The Benjamin Thomas Holland Memorial Fund is established at WPC by James C. Holland and Pamela Meadowcroft as a tribute to their late son, Ben, because of his “love of outdoor adventure, pristine wilderness and gentleness to the land.” The fund will help provide funding for the stewardship of WPC lands.
WPC receives one of the National Wildlife Federation's first Keep The Wild Alive Species Recovery Fund grants to aid in the recovery of freshwater mussel populations in Muddy Creek.
Through its Community Conservation Program, WPC distributes more than $9,000 in small grants to 44 community groups, to support inner city Pittsburgh block watches and police stations to suburban garden clubs and school groups in northern Pennsylvania.
In August, WPC staff and volunteers undertake a project to provide a new trail system for a 259-acre tract of bottomland forest and wetlands along the west branch of French Creek in Erie County.
Fallingwater is named the Building of the Century by The American Institute of Architects based on a recent poll of its membership.
WPC, partnering with the state Game Commission, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Key 93 Program of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, protects a 191-acre farm in Elk County that is home to elk each year during bugling season.
WPC acquires land in Amity Township, Erie County to allow for easier access to State Game Lands 162. A total of 170 acres on the west side of State Route 8 were purchased in 2000; the remaining 240 acres were acquired in 2001. The acquisition provided additional protection to French Creek.
WPC acquires a 22-acre parcel of natural area in Millstone Township that fronts more than 2,200 feet of the Clarion River. The previous owner, Elk County's Seneca Resources, keeps the oil and gas rights but will not extract oil or gas without permission. WPC also acquires a two-acre plot near the parcel from Anna Grubbs. The property will be conveyed to the Allegheny National Forest.
WPC unveils its latest initiative, the Watershed Assistance Center, to carry out the organization's commitment to partner with local groups on watershed issues.
WPC protects more of Chestnut Ridge with an acquisition of approximately 390 acres of pristine property in Derry Township, Westmoreland County. The property is listed as a Biodiversity Area by the Westmoreland County Natural Heritage Inventory.
WPC partners with the board of trustees of The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve to protect 25 acres of undeveloped land along Route 30 in Unity Township, Westmoreland County. Turning this land into a reserve was the dream of Arnold Palmer's wife.
The French Creek Conservation Plan is presented in public meetings in August; the public comment stage ends Sept. 30. All comments are put into the final plan, which is completed by the end of the year. The document describes the land, water, biological and cultural resources in the watershed, but does not establish regulations or requirements.
On Monday, Nov. 5, Fallingwater closes to the public for the structural strengthening of the living room cantilevers. Hardhat tours are offered on weekends only, beginning Nov. 23-25 through Dec. 30, 2001.
WPC partners with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund and the state game commission to acquire more than 2,600 acres in Logan and Oneida Townships in Huntingdon County. The acquisition permanently preserves species of special concern and maintains habitat for black bears, turkey and grouse; it also helps protect the watershed of the Juniata River.
WPC celebrates its 70th anniversary. To date, the organization has protected more than 212,000 acres in Western Pennsylvania.
WPC works to acquire a 2.4-acre property as part of an effort protect a vacant church on the outskirts of Altoona, Pa. that is home to 20,000 bats, including 41 federal and state endangered Indiana bats. Partners for the project include the state game commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of State Parks and the State Parks and Forests Foundation.
32,000 flowers in 43 WPC gardens are lost in a damaging frost during the third weekend in May, after a four-night dip in temperature.
The first documented peregrine falcon birth occurs on Mother's Day at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. On June 11th, the four offspring, three males and one female, are banded by state Game Commission personnel.
Jarvis B. Cecil, former WPC Board Chairman, is honored with the unveiling of the Jarvis B. Cecil Conservation Volunteer Leader Award. It honors individuals who generously give their time and leadership skills and make a significant impact on conservation. Dr. Peter Dalby, a professor at Clarion State University, is the first recipient of the award.
In December 2002, the final shoring that has supported Fallingwater for the past six years is removed; the strengthening of the home is finished. Meanwhile, Builder's Magazine Reader's Choice Survey proclaims Fallingwater America's Favorite Historic Home.
A full-scale study of French Creek's fish and mussels begins in the summer. The study is carried out by WPC's Northwest Field Station in Erie County. In addition, partners from The Nature Conservancy, Edinboro University and the French Creek Project assist along with volunteers.
WPC purchases 389.5 acres off Route 217 in Chestnut Ridge in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, to protect habitat for several state-listed animal species. The land is conveyed to the Commonwealth and added to Forbes State Forest.
David Crockett, a descendant of Davy Crockett, addresses more than 200 at the newly renovated Barn at Fallingwater, at the WPC annual meeting in September. The Barn, originally built in 1870 and expanded by Edgar Kaufmann Sr., is dedicated as an interpretive center featuring educational programming, exhibitions and information about regional ecology.
During the spring, WPC partners with PennDOT to beautify the Squirrel Hill Tunnels in Pittsburgh.
In April, the original male peregrine falcon that began nesting at Pittsburgh's Gulf Tower site is killed. Scientists suspect a one-year-old male that hatched at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning the previous Mother's Day fought and won control of the Gulf nest. The female abandons her six eggs and the new pair of peregrine falcons court. Four eggs are laid and then hatched.
WPC teams with Pittsburgh-based ALCOA on “The Trees of Pittsburgh,” a pocket guide on tree species in Pittsburgh's four public parks.
On Sept. 13, 2003, WPC purchases a property owned by the same family since the 1700s for addition to Blue Knob State Park. The Griffith family owned the 234-acre property, which contains two streams – Wallacks Branch Creek, a Wild Trout Stream; and Bob’s Creek, a Wild Trout Fishery.
The Watershed Conservation Plan of the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association (SCWA) is completed. WPC's Watershed Assistance Center helped to develop the plan.
WPC's BloomSites Program places 100 new baskets in downtown Pittsburgh. They are found along Forbes Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fifth Avenue Place, Market Square, PPG, PNC First Side (Grant Street) and the South Side Port Authority “T” station.
In December, WPC signs an agreement with the state game commission to transfer 1,732 wooded acres along the southern shore of the Clarion River to the commission, providing a protected link between State Game Land 44 in southwestern Elk County and State Game Land 54 in northeastern Jefferson County.
To date, 11,688 of the 12,200 targeted acres in the Clarion River Project are secured in 43 separate transactions with most property transferred to public agencies.
WPC, the oldest independent conservancy in the state, receives the 2003 Pittsburgh American Business Ethics Award, non-profit category, which is presented each year by the Society of Financial Services Professionals.
On June 4, “Erie Bluffs State Park” becomes the official name of 540 pristine acres along the Lake Erie shoreline. On July 17-18, Bioblitz is held at the park. A total of 80 species of birds, 19 species of mammals, 302 species of vascular plants and 94 species of fungi are found, among other discoveries.
The winners of a WPC essay contest, “Conservation and Me,” are Ramon Carr, Carmalt Elementary School; Katrina Forrester, Beechwood Elementary School; David Keller, Whittier Elementary School; Shannon McCarthy, Carmalt Elementary School. They are invited to participate in the banding of peregrine falcons.
On April 1, “A Fallingwater Homecoming” premieres at the Bear Run Interpretive Center. The program showcases the connection between the residents of the Bear Run community and the natural landscape. It runs until July 25; a public and community gathering is held on June 13.
On March 22, officials including United States Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced the establishment of a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the state's Ohio River basin. It provides $146 million to help farmers in western Pennsylvania employ agricultural conservation practices to improve water quality in streams.
In the spring, more than 5,000 volunteers worked with WPC to plant 350,000 flowering plants in community gardens.
WPC and a steering committee of residents in the Clarion River Watershed develop a greenway plan for the river. WPC, as part of the planning process, develops a water trail map/brochure for the river with the state Fish and Boat Commission and the Allegheny National Forest.
On June 30, 2004, WPC purchases 14.14 acres of wooded hillsides and open space formerly known as Malli's Grove. The property, located in South Park Township, is to be conveyed to Allegheny County for an addition to South Park.
WPC completes the Clearfield County Natural Heritage Inventory (CNHI), which is the 14th done in 14 years. The inventories list specific information and maps of a county's most crucial natural resources, helping counties plan wisely so that both local economies grow and natural resources are sustained in a mutually beneficial manner.
WPC's Riparian Buffer Initiative reaches a milestone with the installation of its 50th mile of streambank fencing. The fencing, along with other agricultural best management practices on farms and dairy operations, improves water quality by restricting livestock access to streams.
WPC celebrates the training of its 100th volunteer land steward. The program, which began in 1999, prepares the stewards to monitor and manage WPC-conserved lands. Currently, 75 land steward volunteers are serving and acting as WPC ambassadors.
During 2005, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy implemented a targeted approach to address sediment pollution in streams caused by agriculture.
By the end of 2005, WPC staff:
- installed more than 80 miles of streambank fencing,
- facilitated the use of more than 10,000 acres of seasonal cover crops on erosion-prone cropland,
- planted hundreds of acres of warm season grasses to protect soil, and
- aided landowners in finding conservation practices that work for both the environment and the landowner.
The Bear Run Nature Reserve conservation plan, initiated in 2005, will provide guidance for conservation, restoration and protection of terrestrial and aquatic habitats in the reserve and the surrounding landscape in order to maintain healthy ecosystems.
WPC recognized three largely forested landscapes that include forest patches greater than 15,000 acres in size that are important for the conservation of species, communities and habitats: the Middle Allegheny forests, the West Branch Susquehanna forests and the Laurel Highlands.
The year 2005 marked the 70th anniversary of the day Frank Lloyd Wright first put pencil to paper and produced the revolutionary design for a mountain retreat that quickly became one of the most famous houses of all time. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy continues to develop new ways to experience Fallingwater and, in 2005, added two new specialized tours.
In 2005, WPC began implementing a landscape masterplan for the area that surrounds Fallingwater. A major goal of this plan is the removal of various invasive plant species including English ivy, wisteria, bush honeysuckle and winged euonymus (burning-bush), which have escaped from cultivation on the grounds into the forest surrounding the Fallingwater house and threaten a number of native trees, other plants and wildlife.
In addition to planting more than 150 gardens in 20 western Pennsylvania counties, WPC partnered with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation in Pittsburgh to develop a “Master Implementation Plan” for managing Mount Washington’s green spaces.
In 2006, the Watershed Assistance Center changed its name to the Freshwater Conservation Program to more accurately reflect WPC’s mission. Staff are now being positioned to work, and often live, in key watershed communities.
WPC has now protected nearly 20,000 acres of islands, shorelines and valleys along the Allegheny River. In 2006, WPC targeted 550 miles of major river and tributary ecosystems for conservation, along with 84 occurrences of globally rare (imperiled on Earth) plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and aquatic communities.
WPC expands its outreach in promoting agricultural programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) designed to give farmers specific opportunities to practice sound conservation agriculture.
WPC works directly with grassroots watershed organizations to clean up streams impacted by acid mine drainage as a consequence of abandoned mining operations.
WPC community greening staff aids in creating connectivity along the Ghost Town Trail in Indiana and Cambria Counties. WPC’s staff identified ways to create beds of native plants to beautify the area, create visual highlights that identify the trail for users, and emphasize the green resource that connects all of these portions of the trail together through three towns.
The Barn at Fallingwater is awarded the Commonwealth Design Award from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, an alliance of organizations and individuals committed to enhancing the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. The award is in recognition of design excellence that encompasses sound land-use principles.
WPC forest conservation efforts in the region focused on “core forest blocks” of at least 10,000 acres of relatively unfragmented forestland in 2006. WPC identified areas where key forest blocks can be reconnected, creating forest corridors to facilitate wildlife movement. These priority forest blocks are: Chestnut Ridge, Laurel Hill South, and Mount Davis.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and its partners use GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to determine landscape connections between important forest and watershed conservation targets. The process combines satellite images, aerial photography, and known locations of target species, with specific information about species’ habitat preferences and tolerances to human activity. One of the target areas is in the Laurel Highlands, where the WPC Conservation Science staff is looking for ecologically meaningful links between large unfragmented patches of forest on Chestnut Ridge and Laurel Ridge.
The Western Maryland Railway Project, a landmark 150-mile rails-to-trails corridor, becomes a reality because of the efforts of former WPC presidents Josh Whetzel and John Oliver, and Board Member Linda McKenna Boxx.
WPC begins exploring the feasibility of connecting forest corridors, Laurel Ridge and Chestnut Ridge, in the Laurel Highlands.
WPC opens The Allegheny Project Office in Ridgway, Elk County as a means to better serve this important ecological region
WPC Develops a Conservation Plan for the 5,061-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve that will serve as a long-term management strategy for the land.
WPC Board Member Weida Tucker is appointed Chair of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s (WPC) first Diversity Committee.
Wood Design and Building magazine names the Barn at Fallingwater a Merit Award winner in the Wood Design Awards.
WPC acquires 163.49 acres in the French Creek/Ohio Basin watershed in a donation from the Volkman family in Venango Township, Erie County.
WPC celebrates 75 years of protecting our region’s water, land and life.
More than 5,300 volunteers participate in the Community Gardens and Greenspace program’s spring planting.