News for Immediate Release

Posted on: April 22, 2014

As part of our Strategic Conservation Plan, NBLT as been working to conserve natural lands along the southern edge of the Wyoming Valley. This Area includes the Penobscot Mountain ridgetop from Mocanaqua northeast to the Bald Mountain in northern Bear Creek Township. Working with the Earth Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) over the past few years, NBLT recently acquired the nessessary funds to purcahse a crtical 3000 acre tract at Mocanaqua from the Earth Conservacy. Once aquired NBLT will deed the property over to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Foresty. The property will be available to the public for a variety of recreation activities.

What follows is the press release from DCNR outlining the project.

Enhance Penn’s Woods Initiative Results in 3,000 Acre Addition to Lackawanna State Forest

Harrisburg – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti today announced that the department will add more than 3,000 acres to Lackawanna State Forest with the acquisition of the Mocanaqua tract in Conyngham, Newport and Slocum townships, Luzerne County.

This project is part of Enhance Penn’s Woods – a two-year, more than $200 million initiative launched by Governor Tom Corbett to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

“This addition will protect criticial habitat for a unique variety of animal and plant species and establish a link to other conserved lands in the area,” DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said. “DCNR staff work tirelessly each day to protect our public lands and ensure our visitors have a meaningful and enjoyable experience. We thank Governor Corbett for giving us the tools to be better stewards of the parks and forested entrusted to us.”

The state invested $4 million in Keystone Land Trust and Oil and Gas Lease funding through DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program to purchase the land. The North Branch Land Trust facilitated the purchase from the non-profit Earth Conservancy, which agreed to sell the land at 50 percent of its worth.

“Above and beyond the protection of habitat for important plant and animal species, protecting the Mocanaqua tract will make available to the public more than 3,000 acres for a host of passive recreation activities,” states North Branch Land Trust Executive Director, Paul Lumia. “The North Branch Land Trust hopes to build on this acquisition in an effort to launch future conservation projects along the Penobscot ridge and the Susquehanna River with the ultimate goal being to build an uninterrupted greenway along the southern edge of the Wyoming Valley.”

The property contains mostly forested acres. Along its northern boundary is the Susquehanna River, and the southern boundary is adjacent to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Lily Lake recreation area. A portion of the property includes the Penobscot Mountain ridgetop.

This acquisition is part of a vision to create a green corridor of 230,000 acres along the ridgeline from Wayne County to Carbon County. Large forested blocks support plants and animals that are dependant on interior forest conditions including bird species, fishers, bobcats, Northern Goshawks and Barred Owls.

The new property will be available to the public for educational and recreational opportunties including hiking, cross country skiing and nature observatoin. There currently is a 15-mile loop trail on the property.

DCNR compensates local governments on an annual basis as payment-in-lieau of taxes for public lands. This is meant to replace taxes that would have been generated if these land holdings were in private ownership.

For information on the Lackawanna State Forest, or any of Pennsylvania’s 20 state forest districts, go to www.dcnr.state.pa.us. For more information on Enhance Penn’s Woods choose the icon on the homepage.

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