Monday, August 27, 2018

DCNR, The Conservation Fund Celebrate Adding 560 Acres To Michaux State Forest In Adams County

On Monday, at the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and The Conservation Fund, held a public event to celebrate the recent addition of 560 acres to Michaux State Forest in Adams County.
For more than 25 years, the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve has connected the community to the natural world by teaching, inspiring, and promoting stewardship of the environment.
As the only nonprofit environmental education center in Adams County, the Preserve has interpreted its open space as a living classroom for people of all ages, while maintaining the health of the Swamp Creek and Middle Creek Watersheds.
In June 2018, Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve donated 80 acres and sold an additional 480 acres to ensure habitat protection, recreational access and permanent stewardship of the Swamp Creek watershed.
The Conservation Fund provided transactional support. Strawberry Hill will use the proceeds from the sale to support environmental education programing at its 30-acre campus.
“Strawberry Hill and our community will benefit knowing the watersheds, forest and wildlife are protected by public ownership through this partnership with DCNR,” said Kara Ferraro, Executive Director of Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve. “This allows our organization to focus energy and resources on expanding our environmental education programs while connecting people to the South Mountain Region.”
The land, including 10 miles of existing trails, will be managed as part of Michaux State Forest, connecting the forest’s northern and southern sections and providing a southern gateway to visitors.
“This addition will enhance the Michaux State Forest’s contiguous wildlife corridor that encompasses nearly 86,000 acres in Southcentral Pennsylvania, and provides continued protection for the headwaters of the recently designated Exceptional Value stream, Swamp Creek,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The department intends to carry on the legacy of forest stewardship, watershed protection and environmental education on this land.”
Dunn added that with the Strawberry Hill acquisition, the Wolf Administration is close to meeting a goal of conserving 100,000 acres of land. Michaux State Forest is part of the South Mountain Partnership Conservation Landscape Initiative, which is working to promote economic growth and revitalize local communities based on the abundance of recreational, agriculture and heritage tourism opportunities in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.
“It’s inspiring to see the conservation and community benefits that the devoted staff and volunteers of the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve have provided over the years,” said Kyle Shenk, Pennsylvania State Director for The Conservation Fund. “We are honored to help the Preserve and the DCNR ensure the permanent protection of this land. As a result, students, hikers, birders, families, and outdoor lovers can continue to enjoy and recreate here for generations to come.”  
The conservation effort was made possible with an $837,000 grant from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program and funding from NRG Energy and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.
“At NRG, we believe that delivering results includes providing support and service to the communities where our customer and employees live and work,” said Mike Starck, VP and General Manager of NRG Retail East division. “We’re pleased to support the protection of this beloved landscape in the South Mountain region and Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve’s unique and engaging educational programming for the community.”
“The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds is proud to see this project come to fruition,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, R. John Dawes. “The Board and staff are keenly aware that what happens on our land results in improved or degraded water quality. The size of this addition to conserved land in the state means that water quality will be improved and that generation yet to come will have the opportunity to hike, bird watch, and enjoy this habitat. This public/private partnership demonstrates the best of our instincts to look out for one another and our quality of life. This guarantee of ecosystem function in the future is core to the work and commitment of FPW.”
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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