"Protecting Wildlife Habitat"

WPC Conserves Forests and Wetlands in Clearfield County

Bennett Branch
Bennett Branch

On September 29, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy protected 2,400 scenic acres in Clearfield County — the largest acquisition by the Conservancy since the 75th Anniversary Acquisitions of early 2008. The move was greeted with enthusiasm by locals, who welcomed the opportunity to hunt, fish and hike on parcels that are now open to the public.

Located within the Pennsylvania Wilds region, the properties are largely adjacent to Moshannon State Forest and State Game Lands. Their sweeping vistas may be seen while traveling on Route 255 to the Elk Scenic Byway. A generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation made the $3.5 million acquisition possible.

“In addition to offering stunning views of ridges and valleys, these lands have significant conservation value,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of WPC. “They contain streams and wetlands that sustain wildlife and protect water quality, and they also connect with other forested areas to create larger swaths of conserved lands.”

West Mountain Run
West Mountain Run

Upon closing, WPC transferred the parcels to The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit conservation organization that has assumed management of the lands for recreation and sustainable forestry.

The properties include:

Bark Camp Run. This parcel is partially covered by wetlands and helps to protect the headwaters of the Bennett Branch watershed. It is adjacent to State Game Lands #331 and Moshannon State Forest.

Bennett Branch. Also adjacent to State Game Lands, this tract contains two wetlands and includes frontage on the Bennett Branch of the Sinnemahoning, helping to secure access to the stream.

West Mountain Run and East Mountain Run. These properties join together three previously disconnected parcels of Moshannon State Forest. In addition, West Mountain Run contains a small wetland area.

Sandy Lick Creek. This beautiful maple and oak forest includes wetlands and is located a half-mile away from Moshannon State Forest.

Bark Camp Run
Bark Camp Run

Hoyt Run. Located just 11/4 miles away from State Game Lands #331, this parcel is defined by a dense maple forest.

“These are key properties that provide connections between Game Lands and the Moshannon State Forest,” said WPC Board Member Dr. Colson Blakeslee of DuBois, Pa.

The newly conserved lands become additions to large blocks of forestland in the eastern portion of the Allegheny Wilds, helping to create connections to the Allegheny National Forest in the West. They also help to bridge the landscapes of the High Allegheny Plateau to the forests of the Laurel Highlands and Central Appalachians.