WPC Acquires 2,400 Acres in Clearfield County for Permanent Conservation


WPC completed a significant land acquisition in Clearfield County this week, purchasing 2,400 acres of forested slopes and streams at the headwaters of Bennett Branch, which is a tributary to Sinnemahoning Creek. This land will be permanently conserved for future generations.

The purchase includes six parcels that are largely adjacent to Moshannon State Forest and State Game Lands within the Pennsylvania Wilds region. Visible to motorists traveling on Route 255 to the Elk Scenic Byway, the properties offer magnificent views of forested ridges and valleys and will be open to the public. One of the parcels includes significant frontage on the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek and continues the Conservancy’s ongoing efforts to restore and protect this important stream.

“The conservation of these beautiful lands both expands and improves connections within a mosaic of forested areas that sustain wildlife and offer a range of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing and hunting,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

“In addition, these properties are located a short distance from the Bennett Branch Forest, a 5,300-acre property conserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in early 2008 as part of our 75th Anniversary Acquisitions.”

The $3.5 million purchase was made possible through a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The Conservancy transferred the lands upon purchase to The Conservation Fund (www.conservationfund.org), a national nonprofit conservation organization, which will manage the properties for recreation and sustainable forestry.

"This project is the result of many months of hard work by WPC,” said Todd McNew, Pennsylvania state director for The Conservation Fund. “Thanks to them and the generous support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, these lands will continue to be managed as working forest. Under The Conservation Fund's ownership, these lands will support the local economy through recreation and sustainable timber harvesting and will remain on the local tax rolls. This project fits perfectly with our dual mission of fostering conservation and economic development."

The conserved properties include:

“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 Conservancy has prioritized the conservation of these properties because they augment large blocks of forestland in the eastern portion of the Allegheny Wilds, helping to connect them 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, expanding habitat for wildlife as well as recreational opportunities.