WPC Permanently Protects 41 Acres Near State Park, Hells Run

Thu, Dec 20th 2012, 13:58. Filed under News Releases.

Slippery Rock, Pa. – Dec. 20 – Kathleen Kunz and her late husband Dennis protected and cared for their 41-acre wooded property in Slippery Rock Township, Lawrence County, for more than three decades. Now she is making plans for its future.

In partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Kunz has permanently conserved her property, which is adjacent to McConnells Mill State Park and Slippery Rock Gorge. In fact, this is a multigenerational decision: Kunz’s daughter and son-in-law, who will likely inherit the property, wholeheartedly support her decision to donate a conservation easement to WPC.

“We agree that this is a good way to make sure the land stays in a natural state. That’s our top priority,” said Kunz, whose donation became final today.

Kunz has also made a gift to the Conservancy’s Benjamin Thomas Holland Memorial Fund, which will ensure the long-term stewardship of the parcel. This stewardship fund helps WPC with the annual costs of monitoring the easement, including visiting the property, writing reports and working with landowners to ensure the property’s conservation values and intent of the easement are protected.

By accepting a conservation easement, the Conservancy assumes the legal responsibility to uphold the terms of the conservation easement in perpetuity. The gift of an easement helps WPC advance its mission of protecting the region’s exceptional places, but each easement also represents a perpetual obligation for the Conservancy. Monitoring and enforcement of easements represents significant financial costs.

Kunz’s property – which features a forest full of wildlife and a tributary to Hells Run, a tributary to one of the most pristine streams in the state – builds upon one of WPC’s most significant conservation projects that resulted in the creation of McConnells Mill in 1957. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Slippery Rock Gorge as a National Natural Landmark.

The parcel also is adjacent to another property protected under a conservation easement with the Conservancy.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between the Conservancy and a private landowner that limits future uses of the property in order to protect its conservation value while enabling the land to remain privately owned. Every easement is tailored to the property and to the interests of the landowner.

“Protection of this property is important because it is part of an important forest landscape and it will contribute to the protection of a natural heritage area,” said WPC President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas D. Saunders. “It represents long-standing priorities of the Conservancy.”

The conservation easement restricts future subdivision and development of the property and ensures that the parcel’s conservation values are protected in perpetuity.

“Every landowner and every property has a unique story to tell,” said Jane Iksic-Menchyk, WPC land protection specialist. “It was my pleasure to assist Kathy and her family in their goal of protecting their property so that others might enjoy it in the future as they have.”

A photo has been made available for media use at: http://goo.gl/1PD88


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 135 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:
Allison Schlesinger
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
412-586-2358 (office)
412-607-1945 (cell)

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.