WPC Protects Land Along the Cussewago Creek in Hayfield Township

Tue, Sep 4th 2012, 10:54. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – September 4, 2012 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) acquired a significant property in the French Creek watershed today. The more than 283-acre tract in Hayfield Township, Crawford County has 5,650 feet of frontage along Cussewago Creek, a major tributary of French Creek. WPC will manage it as a natural area, open to the public for recreation.

French Creek

“This acquisition continues our longstanding focus on conserving land in the French Creek watershed and protecting French Creek,” said WPC President and CEO Thomas Saunders. “Its proximity to Meadville and Interstate 79 will make it easily accessible for people to enjoy for hiking, birding, canoeing, fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities for generations to come.”

The Conservancy has protected more than 3,900 acres within the 1,250 square-mile French Creek watershed since 1969. French Creek has the highest level of aquatic biodiversity of any stream of its size in Pennsylvania.

The newly-acquired property includes wetlands, forest and numerous seasonal pools. It lies within the Audubon Society’s Cussewago Bottom Important Bird Area, where a heron rookery and more than 190 species of birds have been recorded, including nesting bald eagles, marsh wrens, pied-billed grebes and other species of conservation concern in the state. Pineland pimpernel, a plant species of special concern in Pennsylvania, grows in moist soils there.

“The property has been in the family for 60 years; it was our livelihood.” said Lary L. Smock, the previous owner. “My father, Robert L. Smock, taught us how to take care of the land, about conservation and land management. He would be happy to see that it will be conserved for all to appreciate and enjoy in the future, the way our family has.”

Funding for the purchase was provided by a bequest to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy from Helen Katz, with additional funds from The Nature Conservancy through a bequest from Bonnie and Joe Kies.

A photo has been made available for media use at: http://goo.gl/gQ5uE.


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 233,000 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 13,000 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.

Media contact:
Eric Sloss
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
(412) 586-2358


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.