Pittsburgh, Pa. – December 4, 2023 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced today the permanent protection of 410 acres of steep forested slopes and riparian forest in Somerset County that safeguards water quality and wildlife habitat along Clear Run Creek, a tributary to Laurel Hill Creek.
The Jefferson Township property was immediately conveyed to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to become an addition to Forbes State Forest. The large forested property is adjacent to the forest and in the viewshed of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70.5-mile continuous footpath stretching along Laurel Ridge. The Conservancy acquired land in 1965 that helped to establish Laurel Ridge State Park for the primary purpose of creating the trail.
Clear Run Creek, a designated high-quality cold water stream by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, is stocked with trout and known to support natural trout production, including for the eastern brook trout. The property, which protects the scenic views along the southern side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, contains open areas managed for golden-winged warbler habitat. Also, the protection of this land ensures habitat connectivity, an important consideration to ensure that plant and animal species have pathways, through connected habitats and landscapes, to move to more temperate and tolerable environments as the climate changes.
“This is a beautiful property that has so many conservation benefits,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “We’re glad to add another property to Forbes State Forest. So many people enjoy that state forest and it’s one of the spectacular assets of our region.”
Conservation of this forestland was made possible thanks to grants from the DCNR Bureau of State Forestry, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Babcock Charitable Trust and Hillman Foundation.
Since the 1960s, the Conservancy has protected more than 80,000 acres of open space in the Laurel Highlands, most of it turned over to the state to establish and manage parks, game lands and wild areas.
For more information about conservation options to protect land, please contact the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 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 and thousands of trees 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.
Senior Director of Communications