WPC Protects Two Forestland Properties along French Creek
Thu, Sep 22nd 2011, 17:26. Filed under News Releases.
Pittsburgh, Pa. – September 22, 2011 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) permanently protected two properties along French Creek this week. WPC conserved nearly 400 acres of forestland in French Creek Township, Venango County, and 27 acres in LeBoeuf Township, Erie County.
“French Creek has the highest level of aquatic biodiversity of any stream of its size in Pennsylvania,” said Conservancy President and CEO Thomas Saunders. “These acquisitions will ensure permanent protection of the properties, and bring the Conservancy’s protected acreage in the French Creek watershed to over 2,700 acres.”
Owned by Troy and Lynn Firth and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, the French Creek Township property hosts beautiful woodlands that include a waterfall and tributaries to the creek.
The Firth family and The Foundation for Sustainable Forests, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting working forestland, will continue to own and manage the property. The forest will continue to be harvested in a sustainable way to help support the local economy. It is being protected by a conservation easement, a voluntary legal agreement between a private landowner and a nonprofit organization like WPC that limits future uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
“An easement was placed on the property to help provide the means to promulgate sustainable forestry practices into the foreseeable future,” said Troy Firth. The easement was purchased through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with matching funds from The Nature Conservancy. “The Firth family manages their forests in an impressively sustainable manner,” Saunders said.
The LeBoeuf Township property runs 2,237 feet along the main stem of French Creek. Funding for the purchase of this property was provided by family members in memory of Bradford Barnes combined with funds from a generous bequest from Helen Katz designated for acquiring land to preserve rare and endangered species of plants and animals. The relatively flat forested area was purchased from the Estate of George J. Kuebel Jr.
“Referred to by our family as simply ‘French Creek,’ this land felt like another world compared to the treeless city block where we lived in downtown Erie,” said Roger Kuebel, son of George Kuebel Jr. “Maintained in its natural state, it was like a miniature nature preserve where we would picnic, fish, birdwatch and raft. Our family has treasured this property for nearly 50 years, and we are delighted to entrust its future to WPC for the enjoyment of generations to come.”
French Creek provides habitat for two species of federally endangered freshwater mussels, 26 other mussel species and numerous fish species of special conservation concern.
The properties will be open to the public for passive recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing and canoeing.
Photos have been made available for media use at: http://goo.gl/bVf7X.
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 has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 230,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which 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 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy