The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has permanently protected 66 acres in Rockdale Township, Crawford County, the Conservancy announced today.
Located downstream from another WPC-protected property, this property has approximately 1,600 feet of creek frontage along French Creek, one of the most ecologically significant waterways in the northeastern United States.
“The conservation of this property will help to protect French Creek, its water quality and aquatic life, and forestland along the creek,” said Thomas Saunders, WPC president and chief executive officer.
The property includes a wetland and a forested, riparian buffer along the creek. Forested riparian corridors help to regulate the temperature of streams and create conditions that contribute to improved water quality and habitat for the federally endangered and threatened freshwater mussels and numerous fish species of special conservation concern in Pennsylvania that live in the watershed.
WPC purchased the land from the Niknar Sportsmen’s Club, which has owned the property since the 1950s. This property will be managed as a natural area and be open to the public for low-impact recreation, such as hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.
“The mission of the Niknar Sportsmen’s Club was to promote, foster and protect wildlife and natural resources, and encourage participation in recreational activities and sports,” said George Varzaly, president of Niknar Sportsmen’s Club, who now lives in Georgia. “Thanks to the Conservancy, we are able to uphold the original charter of the organization and keep the land natural forever.”
The acquisition was made possible through one family’s generous financial contribution in memory of their son and brother, Brad Barnes. Barnes, who lived in the area, was dedicated to conservation and to protecting endangered plants and animals. His family has conserved several ecologically significant properties in northwestern Pennsylvania with WPC in his memory. Funds from the estate of Helen B. Katz also contributed to this acquisition.