Newport Township, Luzerne County, PA – Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined conservancy and Bureau of Forestry officials in a dedication ceremony celebrating the addition more than 1,500 acres to Pinchot State Forest.
“Visitors will appreciate the increased access and recreational potential this land affords, and we salute the Earth Conservancy and North Branch Land Trust for working tirelessly to make this happen,” Dunn said. “With the addition of the Wanamie and Crystal Lake land parcels, both in Luzerne County, comes increased watershed protection and assistance in the bureau’s efforts to curtail forest fragmentation and safeguard state forestlands.”
Formally dedicated today was acquisition of the 1,132-acre Wanamie property in Newport Township, Luzerne County, facilitated by the Earth Conservancy; and the purchase of the 389-acre Crystal Lake tract, overseen by North Branch Land Trust, in Bear Creek Township.
“We are extremely pleased to have participated in the collaboration,” said Mike Dziak, Earth Conservancy president and CEO. “Projects like this are critical to Earth Conservancy’s mission of revitalization in the region. Not only does preserving this land protect open space and wildlife in the area, but it also adds to outdoor recreational resources for the public.”
Deeded to the Bureau of Forestry by the Earth Conservancy, the Wanamie tract has an existing mountain bike path that is maintained by the conservancy. Its acquisition will enhance other state forest recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, wildlife watching, and hunting.
The North Branch Land Trust (NBLT) recently purchased the 389-acre tract in Bear Creek Township, with an eye to protecting the Delaware River watershed and improving public access and recreation opportunities on land surrounding Crystal Lake. It, too, has deeded the property to the bureau.
The tract sits atop the Delaware River Watershed and harbors wetlands and headwater streams feeding into the Delaware River via the Bear Creek and Lehigh River. Trails on the property connect to existing trail networks on the neighboring state forest land.
Both land purchases were facilitated through grant support from DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Community Conservation Partnership Program, with funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund; and the Open Space Institute’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, made possible with funding from the William Penn Foundation.
For more information on Pinchot State Forest, or grant opportunities with the department, visit the DCNR website.