Pittsburgh, Pa. – March 3, 2023 – Sixty-five acres of scenic views and important wildlife habitat along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County will remain intact, thanks to land now permanently protected via a conservation easement with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The land hosts a variety of wildlife species, and portions of it are located within the Freeman Falls Natural Heritage Area, a site that hosts rare plants and animals and high-quality ecological communities.
The conservation easement also protects the land’s forested sandstone boulder outcrops, which provide habitat for the Allegheny woodrat. Once considered a common resident of Pennsylvania’s mountains, the Allegheny woodrat is now a Pennsylvania-threatened and globally vulnerable species due to habitat disturbance and loss, and disruption of its food sources.
“This project is a continuation of efforts by the Conservancy to enhance the scenic character of the Ligonier Valley landscape while protecting the rare and important wildlife habitat located there,” says Conservancy President and CEO Thomas Saunders.
Since the 1970s the Conservancy has permanently protected nearly 27,000 acres of land in the Ligonier Valley, of which more than 10,000 are through conservation easements.
This conservation easement, which is a permanent deed restriction on privately owned land, eliminates further residential development, subdivision, unsustainable timber harvesting, and oil, gas and mineral extraction.
Conservation of this land was made possible thanks to grants from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation. Funding was also provided by individuals who made donations to support land conservation in the Ligonier Valley.
For more information about conservation options, please contact the Conservancy at 724-238-2492 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands, protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, and assessed thousands of wildlife species and their habitats. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of more than 7,000 volunteers. The work of the Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.
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