Skip to main content

Conservancy finalizes deal for Kittatinny Ridge land

  • Empty

    Wildlands Conservancy is finalizing a deal to acquire approximately 500 acres along the Kittatinny Ridge in East Penn Township, known as the Semmel tract. GRAPHIC BY DAVID ROWE/TIMES NEWS

  • Empty

    Wildlands Conservancy is finalizing a deal to acquire approximately 500 acres along the Kittatinny Ridge in East Penn Township, known as the Semmel tract. GRAPHIC BY DAVID ROWE/TIMES NEWS

Published August 17. 2018 10:08PM

Hundreds of acres of oak, poplar, maple and white pine trees along the Kittatinny Ridge, as well as some savanna-type fields of green brier will be preserved as open space, thanks to a Lehigh Valley-based preservation group.

Wildlands Conservancy is finalizing a deal to acquire approximately 500 acres along the Kittatinny Ridge in East Penn Township, known as the Semmel tract.

All but 35 acres of the property, on the north side of the Kittatinny Ridge, will become property of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and eventually be opened to hunting, hiking and other outdoor activities.

The remaining land, located along Lizard Creek, will go to East Penn Township for future recreation opportunities.

Wildlands has protected 13,000 acres of the ridge since it started 45 years ago because the land has significant recreational and ecological significance, said Wildlands Executive Director Christopher Kocher.

“We’re thrilled to be able to protect another 500 acres and a key gap in the continuous protection along the Kittatinny Ridge. It continues the longtime legacy involvement of Wildlands Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Game Commission in this important landscape,” Kocher said.

The land is located west of the Lehigh Tunnel and south of Lizard Creek. It was purchased with assistance from the Game Commission, the Appalachian Trails Conservancy, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The acquisition will add to a large existing swath of game lands along the Kittatinny Ridge. State Gamelands 217, which straddles the ridge, includes more than 8,000 acres between the Lehigh Gap and the Lehigh-Berks County line.

Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said the acquisition will create more opportunities for hunters and trappers. He also said it will protect and even enhance wildlife habitat on the property.

“Partner organizations like the Wildlands Conservancy continue to help in the acquisition of these key properties and, simply put, Pennsylvania’s more than 1.5 million-acre system of state game lands wouldn’t be the same without their commitment and the important work they accomplish,” Lau said.

The Game Commission voted to accept the property earlier this year. They assessed the land before voting on it. The commission said the land is forested with oak, poplar, maple and white pine and transitions into a savanna-type field of green briar and fern interspersed with trees at the lower elevations.

While it is surrounded mostly by game lands, it also borders the Appalachian Trail, which is buffered by National Park Service property.

The East Penn Township supervisors voted to accept the property at their meeting Monday night. Before the vote, Chairman William G. Schwab said it will provide access to a railroad bed that runs through the township. Following the meeting he declined to comment on the acquisition.

Kocher said the Kittatinny Ridge is a big part of Wildlands’ preservation mission. The 13,000 acres Wildlands has protected along the ridge represents about one-quarter of all of the land it has preserved in eastern Pennsylvania since it began 45 years ago.

Classified Ads

Event Calendar

<<

September 2019

>>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
     

Upcoming Events

Twitter Feed