Crawford County, Pa. – Dec. 22 – A forested property located in Hayfield and Vernon townships, Crawford County was permanently protected and became available for recreational use, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced today.

This 171-acre property, which protects ecologically important land in the French Creek watershed, contains more than 5,600 feet of frontage along the Cussewago Creek. Cussewago Creek is a major tributary to French Creek, which is within the headwaters of the Allegheny River.

The property is among the remaining larger undeveloped properties in the French Creek watershed, an important Natural Heritage Area known for its aquatic biodiversity and a longtime priority conservation area for the Conservancy. Located within Pennsylvania Audubon Society’s Cussewago Bottom Important Bird Area (IBA), the property includes an intact forest, wetlands and marshes, which are all important for further protection of the region’s migrating bird populations and species associated with mature and early-successional forest types.

“This is an important property to protect within the French Creek watershed, and a great addition to a Conservancy-owned natural area,” said Thomas Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “We will continue working with our partners in the region to protect land along French Creek and its tributaries. We’re excited about expanding this natural area that the Conservancy owns and makes available for hiking, birdwatching and exploring its woods and wetlands.”

This land has been added to the Conservancy’s Helen B. Katz Natural Area, which is open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, birding and other wildlife watching. The natural area now totals 552 acres.

This property was acquired with funds from the estate of Helen B. Katz, whose 2008 legacy gift has allowed the Conservancy to permanently protect more than 20 properties in the region totaling more than 4,700 acres. The Conservancy has protected approximately 4,800 acres of land within the 1,250-square-mile French Creek watershed since 1969, and a total of more than a quarter million acres across the region since its establishment in 1932.


Photos and a map have been made available courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

High-res photo:
Photos for web use:
Map of the property:

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) protects and restores exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten 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 130 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

Media contact:

Carmen Bray
Director of Communications