Land Conservation

Explore Our Properties

Love birding, hiking or fishing? The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy owns and manages more than 13,000 acres of land that are open to the public, free of charge. At more than 10,000 acres, the 13 properties highlighted below are particularly suited for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. With their entrances accessible from local roadways, most of these areas have trails, informational signage, designated parking, a variety of recreational uses and are ideal for families with children.

Please Stay Safe and Healthy While Enjoying Nature and the Outdoors
Pennsylvania's statewide stay-at-home order permits outdoor activities for exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as those activities are done in a safe and responsible manner per CDC guidelines. As you hike, walk and enjoy our properties, we encourage you to please maintain social distancing, step off-trail to let others pass and continue to follow leave-no-trace principles.

Bear Run Nature Reserve

LOCATION: Stewart Township and Springfield Township, Fayette County and Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Camping, Birdwatching, Hunting (by permit only) and Fishing
SIZE: 5,119 acres

Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve

LOCATION: Borough of Fox Chapel, Allegheny County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching and Bow Hunting (by permit only)
SIZE: 131 acres

Bennett Branch Forest

LOCATION: Jay Township, Elk County; Huston Township, Clearfield County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Biking, Wildlife Watching, Fishing and Hunting
SIZE: 1,465 acres

Dr. Colson E. Blakeslee
Memorial Recreation Area

LOCATION: Benezette Township, Elk County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding and Elk Observation
SIZE: 24 acres

Dutch Hill Forest

LOCATION: Heath Township, Jefferson County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Off-Trail Hiking, Wildlife Watching and Hunting
SIZE: 490 acres

Helen B. Katz Natural Area

LOCATION: Hayfield Township, Crawford County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Hunting and Fishing
SIZE: 552 acres

Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr. Memorial Recreation Area

LOCATION: Confluence Borough, Somerset County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching and Hunting
SIZE: 40 acres

Lake Pleasant Conservation Area

LOCATION: Venango Township - Green Township and Waterford Township, Erie County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Non-motorized Boating, Wildlife Watching, Hunting and Fishing
SIZE: 582 acres

Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve

LOCATION: Girard Township, Erie County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Hunting and Fishing
SIZE: 92.2 acres

Miller Esker Natural Area

LOCATION: Worth Township, Butler County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching and Hunting
SIZE: 31.9 acres

Toms Run Nature Reserve

LOCATION: Ohio and Kilbuck townships, Allegheny County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching and Hunting
SIZE: 369 acres

West Branch French Creek Conservation Area

LOCATION: Venango Township, Erie County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Hunting and Fishing
SIZE: 992 acres

Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area

LOCATION: Slippery Rock Township, Butler County - VIEW ON MAP
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Hunting and Fishing
SIZE: 243 acres

Our Work Benefits Public Lands

Are you aware the Conservancy helped establish Ohiopyle State Park in the 1950s and nine other state parks? Did you know we recently protected 17,000 acres for Elk State Forest? Some of the places where you enjoy nature, hiking, fishing or hunting are there because of our work.

Of the more than 255,000 acres of land the Conservancy has protected, more than 200,000 acres have been conveyed to the Allegheny National Forest and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the state public lands system. Today, millions of people who live and visit Pennsylvania can freely enjoy these beautiful places for outdoor recreation and nature exploration.

More WPC-Owned Properties to Explore

In addition to the areas listed above, there are 35 other Conservancy-owned properties that are open to the public for a variety of recreational uses. However, many of these places are wild, remote, rustic and more suited for experienced hikers and explorers. So, if you’re a little more adventurous – about 4,000 acres of wild areas await you.

  • Be sure to read our Guidelines for Public Use document prior to your visit.
  • For information on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible trails, please review the Conservancy's ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Please contact us for more information.
For More Information:

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Land Conservation and Stewardship Department
800 Waterfront Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

866-564-6972
land@paconserve.org