Pittsburgh, Pa. – Dec. 20, 2018 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy recently protected nearly 300 acres in Somerset and Fayette counties near the summit of Laurel Ridge and many popular Laurel Highlands outdoor recreational destinations. The land will be transferred to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks as an addition to Laurel Ridge State Park next year.
This scenic land shares its northern border with Laurel Ridge State Park and State Game Lands 111 at its southeastern corner, connecting the region’s public lands and expanding recreation opportunities. The 70.5-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, Forbes State Forest and Bear Run Nature Reserve are all within close proximity to this land.
In addition, this 281-acre acquisition protects buffers around Sandy Run, a High Quality Coldwater stream that flows into Laurel Hill Creek. Sandy Run supports a range of important aquatic species, including naturally reproducing trout, shellfish, hellbender salamanders, macroinvertebrates and many other aquatic species.
“This is another wonderful addition to the protection of lands in the Laurel Hill Creek watershed and Pennsylvania’s state parks,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “This project expands the Conservancy’s historic acquisitions that led to the creation of Laurel Ridge State Park in the late 1960s.”
In 1969, the Conservancy protected and conveyed more than 11,000 acres to become Laurel Ridge State Park. Today, the 13,625-acre state park is home to portions of the popular 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which the Conservancy helped establish. Acquisition of this land also protects undeveloped land surrounding the hiking trail corridor.
The purchase of this property was made possible through the generosity of the family of B. Kenneth Simon, with additional support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
A map and photos of the property are available for media use courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Photos and a map of the property can be downloaded here: https://we.tl/t-bPnaW5foA4
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 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 132 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 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 or Fallingwater.org.