Header image
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Building on a 75-Year Legacy of Land Conservation



We live in an extraordinary place.

Western Pennsylvania’s magnificent centerpiece city is poised between two rivers converging into a third, in a setting of dramatic landscapes and hillsides. Our region is one of beautiful and resource-rich landscapes – many within a short drive, bicycle ride or even paddle from our urbanized areas.

What will the future of this region be? Will we become more “place-less,” more sprawling, a region with some protected natural areas but that loses the integrity of its landscape over time? Or will we be a place where our city and built communities stay healthy and attractive, where people invest in these already built places to keep revitalizing them, and where many individuals and organizations work together to protect our natural areas?

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy works on all of these issues. Our Gardens and Greenspace program provides our signature gardens, tree plantings and community organizing, to help our communities stay appealing. Our rivers and tributaries work addresses the health of our watersheds. We preserve Fallingwater, a gem of our region. But the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has one of its richest legacies in an area that is setting apart our region from others – land conservation on a large scale, protecting the best of our region’s tremendous natural areas.

The list of lands the Conservancy has protected is humbling: properties like Ohiopyle, McConnells Mill, Moraine and Erie Bluffs State Parks. The Conservancy works constantly to protect additional important properties across Western Pennsylvania. We do in-house and partnership-based research and decision-making about properties to protect, based on preservation of biological diversity and other values important to the region and its communities.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy operations have been recently reorganized to increase our emphasis on this core land conservation work. Our goal is to build on the Conservancy’s land protection legacy and be able to work best – strategically, rapidly – to protect additional lands that make our region special. We look forward to working with other organizations, state and regional agencies, county and local communities, conservation-minded landowners and our many other conservation partners as we protect land at a scale and pace that makes a difference in how our region shapes itself.

This issue of Conserve is devoted to the Conservancy’s land conservation work: our legacy of land protection, the vast acres of land protected in 2007 and early 2008, and our planning for future land protection.

Thomas D. Saunders
President and CEO