Forest Echo Bird Sanctuary - Protected by NBLT

Posted on: October 12, 2013

In 1907, Rachel and Dr. Sarah Wyckoff of Kingston purchased 177 acres and 48 perches of land from Johnson and Almira Reed of Dallas Borough to have as bird sanctuary and summer retreat. The Wyckoff’s enjoyed and stewarded this idyllic piece of the Back Mountain up until Rachel’s death in 1946. Having a long-standing relationship with Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School Rachel bequeathed her family property to the school with instructions to “Maintain the 17 acres of wooded lands around her cottage known as Forest Echo as a sanctuary for birds and to that end to preserve and maintain the said lands.” From the date of acquisition of the property in 1946, Wyoming Seminary upheld the wishes of the Wyckoff family but realized that a greater level of protection was needed if the property was to be maintained as a sanctuary in perpetuity.

Jumping ahead to 1993 and the formation of The Back Mountain Regional Land Trust now known as North Branch Land Trust (NBLT), Land Trust Board members recognized the Wyoming Seminary Forest Echo Bird Sanctuary as a priority property for protection given its proximity to the Huntsville Reservoir and encroaching residential housing developments. The property provides direct watershed protection to the Huntsville Reservoir and buffers runoff from the surrounding developments.

In 2010, the Wyoming Seminary administration and NBLT discussed strategies to permanently protect the Sanctuary. It was agreed that NBLT would purchase the property from Seminary at a fair market value. Starting in the fall of 2012 NBLT reached out to the surrounding community for donations in support of the acquisition of the Sanctuary. Community support for the project was overwhelming and by the summer of 2013, all funds needed had been raised. On August 28, 2013, North Branch Land Trust acquired the Sanctuary from Wyoming Seminary.

The 17-acre property, located off West Center Hill road in Dallas Borough will forever be a sanctuary for birds as per the wishes of the original donors, Rachel and Dr. Sarah Wyckoff. North Branch Land Trust will maintain the property and establish a land use plan over time that will be sympathetic to the wildlife found there and to the surrounding community. The Trust would like to thank Wyoming Seminary and the Dallas Borough community members for helping to make this conservation project reality. In honor of the original donors, the property will continue to be called the Forest Echo Bird Sanctuary.

Click on the PDF map link below to see the location of the Sanctuary
Forest Echo LMP Map.pdf

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251 Huntsville-Idetown Rd., Dallas, PA 18612
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