The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has secured a piece of land along Lake Erie that it described as a "longtime conservation priority."
The 113 acres, purchased from a private owner for $500,000, are contiguous to the 3,214-acre David M. Roderick Wildlife Reserve/State Game Land 314.
The conservancy has worked in the Lake Erie region for decades, establishing the wildlife reserve in 1991.
The land acquired this week is in Springfield Township along Lake Erie.
"This property is one of northwest Pennsylvania's gems," said Thomas Saunders, president and CEO of the conservancy. "We are so glad we can make this area available to the public for hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing and just walking on the beach."
The purchase was funded by grants from the Erie Community Foundation, the Community Conservation Partnership Program administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Funding is also expected from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The conservancy plans to transfer the property to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The land will be used for hunting as well as other recreational activities.
The conservancy considered the land to be at risk of being developed in a manner that would have "harmed its recreational and ecological value."
That value includes rare geological features in the Lake Erie cliffs known as scarp seeps and endangered plants such as variegated scouring rush and small-headed rush.
Birds that live in the area include swallows, American woodcocks, willow flycatchers, yellow-breasted chats, wood thrushes and scarlet tanagers.
The conservancy usually experiences a flurry of activity in December as donors seek to finalize transactions by year's end. Last week, the conservancy added 135 acres to Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County. The organization expects to acquire more land in the Ligonier Valley, as well as a forested property in Bedford County, by the end of December.
The conservancy was founded in 1932 and has conserved nearly 229,000 acres in Western Pennsylvania.
Anya Sostek: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1308.