WPC Purchases Key Property within Bear Run Nature Reserve

Mon, Aug 9th 2010, 13:16. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – August 9, 2010 – On Friday the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) purchased a 25.5-acre property that was completely surrounded by the Conservancy-owned Bear Run Nature Reserve. WPC considers its acquisition to be critical to the long-term protection of the reserve, with a focus on maintaining the pristine quality of the Bear Run watershed and the quality of the visitor experience in this remote area.

A view of Bear Run Nature Reserve near the newly acquired property.

A view of Bear Run Nature Reserve

near the newly acquired property.

Located in the Laurel Highlands, the 5,100-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve is home to black bears, bobcats and 53 species of breeding birds. Visitors enjoy hiking on its 20-mile trail system, backcountry camping, hunting, fishing, bird and wildlife watching and nature study. The reserve also provides the setting for WPC-owned Fallingwater, the famous house designed for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The newly acquired property is located on a relatively steep slope that drains into Bear Run stream, and is situated in the most remote eastern portion of the reserve—accessible only on foot. It will remain in an undeveloped state, open to the public for low-impact recreational activities.

The property’s former owners had expressed an interest in developing this one remaining private parcel in this remote part of the reserve for a second home or retirement residence. Development of this site could have negative impacts on the water quality of the stream due to sediment and erosion related to road building and site preparation, trees being harvested during clearing as well as any nutrient runoff related to on-lot septic necessary to service residences. Any development would have increased the likelihood of establishing non-native invasive species in the heart of the reserve.

Realizing the impacts of such development within the reserve, the Conservancy acquired the land using funds provided by generous benefactors. Part of the purchase was funded through a significant bequest from a longtime WPC member who designated her support for the acquisition of natural areas. The remaining funds were made available in the form of a no-interest loan from a WPC member-couple.

Purchase of the property within Bear Run Nature Reserve will help protect this tributary.

Purchase of the property within Bear Run

Nature Reserve will help protect this tributary.

“The Bear Run Reserve is an important place because it provides a protected landscape of 5,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands, but also because it provides the pristine setting for Fallingwater that makes the visitor experience such a special thing,” said Thomas Saunders, WPC President and CEO. “The Conservancy works on an ongoing basis to expand and protect the reserve. Adding this 25-acre parcel in the heart of it means that this remote part of the reserve will stay intact, without development. Anyone who has hiked into this back, interior, part of the reserve knows that this area should stay undisturbed and natural forever,” Saunders added.

Bear Run Nature Reserve is designated as an Exceptional Biological Diversity Area and the Conservancy has managed it as a natural area for the past 50 years. One of the reserve’s most prized features is Bear Run, an Exceptional Value Stream and a Pennsylvania Scenic River that supports wild brook trout and other aquatic life. Through WPC’s land protection efforts, the Bear Run Nature Reserve encompasses almost 70 percent of the Bear Run watershed.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a private nonprofit organization, protects and restores exceptional places throughout Western Pennsylvania through a range of projects and programs. To date, WPC has conserved more than 228,000 acres of land for the benefit of people and wildlife through purchase, conservation easements and other means. WPC also improves rivers and streams through watershed restoration projects carried out with volunteers and grassroots organizations.

Photos are available here.




About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC helped to establish ten state parks and has conserved more than 228,000 acres of natural lands and waterways. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa. that symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 10,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:
Genny McIntyre
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
(412) 586-2368

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductable as allowed by law.