WPC Adds Scenic Property to Ohiopyle State Park

Wed, Sep 17th 2008, 15:25. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, PA – September 17, 2008 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy finalized a land purchase on September 15, 2008 that will add nearly 200 acres in the Laurel Highlands to Ohiopyle State Park, one of Pennsylvania’s most treasured natural areas.

Located in Stewart Township, Fayette County, the newly acquired 197-acre parcel provides breathtaking views of Sugarloaf Knob, the defining feature of a popular hiking, biking and snowmobiling trail that begins near the Ohiopyle Visitor Center. Upon closing, WPC conveyed the property to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as a permanent addition to Ohiopyle State Park. More than one million people visit Ohiopyle annually to enjoy the region’s recreational opportunities, natural resources and history.

“We are very pleased to permanently protect this extraordinary property, which is adjacent to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence, Kentuck Knob,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “From a conservation perspective, this action is important because it permanently protects this area connecting Ohiopyle and Kentuck Knob from development.”

The land purchase was made possible through funding from DCNR. The acquisition of this 197-acre tract is a part of a conservation partnership and strategic investments in the landscape known as the Laurel Highlands, an area that includes Fayette, Somerset, Westmoreland and a portion of Cambria counties.

“The protection of this property as a buffer to existing state park land is important on its own, but is even more significant because of the landscape that it is in,” DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis said. “The Laurel Highlands initiative is a DCNR program working with external partners on land conservation, locally driven planning, and community economic revitalization efforts that are tied to the protection of our natural resources and cultural assets.”

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
To date, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) has protected nearly 225,000 acres of natural lands in Pennsylvania. Now in its 76th year, Pennsylvania’s first conservancy continues to partner with grassroots organizations to protect land, restore watersheds and save natural habitats.

WPC preserves Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater®, which was designed in 1935 and entrusted to the Conservancy in 1963 by Edgar Kaufmann jr. A symbol of living in harmony with nature, Fallingwater is open to the public and offers a wide variety of educational programs to its more than 135,000 annual visitors.

Each year, WPC plants and maintains community gardens and greening projects throughout Western Pennsylvania. In 2007, WPC partnered with more than 5,300 volunteers and dozens of community organizations to plant 140 gardens in 19 western Pennsylvania counties.