Header image
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Building on a 75-Year Legacy of Land Conservation


Western Pennsylvania’s Land:
A Legacy for Future Generations

In its first 75 years, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy left an important legacy for our region by permanently protecting some of our most cherished natural places.

In January 2008, WPC heralded its next 75 years with a set of land acquisitions that are the largest in a decade. The 75th Anniversary Acquisitions include several parcels in five counties and permanently protect 11,300 acres. The purchases were made possible through a $14 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and $6.5 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They reflect the organization’s steadfast
commitment to land conservation – and our belief that this work is more critical than ever in an era confronted by the challenges of poorly planned development and habitat loss for native plants and animals.

The purchases were completed by WPC’s Land Conservation and Stewardship team, which was formed under a new associate vice president, Greg Socha, in late 2007 to focus exclusively on land conservation. A central operation of WPC since the organization’s founding, land conservation activities have enabled WPC to protect nearly 225,000 acres of natural lands throughout Western Pennsylvania. Many of these acquisitions have become parks, public forests and gamelands, set aside for the enjoyment of people and the protection of natural resources, for all time.

The Land Conservation and Stewardship team is focused on maximizing WPC’s impact in this area – to help safeguard our drinking water sources, provide havens for endangered wildlife, and provide beautiful recreational areas for those who visit the region or call it home.

This issue of Conserve magazine focuses on WPCs work in land conservation – our latest acquisitions, our most noteworthy projects over the years, and the critical roles that volunteers and partners play in the organization’s success.

Laurel Hill Creek Forest, a 2,300-acre parcel now protected in Somerset County.