Senator Yudichak Announces Community Conservation Partnership Programs Grants for North Branch Land Trust and Wildlands Conservancy

Nanticoke, October 8, 2020 – State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that $3.85 million in grant funding awarded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will go toward the acquisition of land at Pinchot State Forest, Hickory Run State Park and Weiser State Forest.

The North Branch Land Trust will receive $850,000 toward the acquisition of approximately 700 acres in Newport and Hanover Townships, Luzerne County for an addition to the Pinchot State Forest.

Thousands of acres have been added to the Pinchot State Forest over the past several years. In November 2019, Newport and Hazle Townships received $850,000 in state funding from DCNR toward the acquisition of 700 acres in the townships for an addition to the Pinchot State Forest.   Also, in 2019, the Earth Conservancy donated 407 acres of land to the forest near Wilkes-Barre. That land provided connectivity to adjacent sections of the Pinchot State Forest, including a wild trout stream and its Seven Tubs Recreation Area, and supports completion of a final portion of the D&L trail. The state forest covers over 49,000 acres.

“The Pinchot State Forest began with a modest tract of 8,000 acres of land and an ambitious vision to preserve as much of the pristine mountain sides of northeastern Pennsylvania as we possibly could. With today’s announcement of another significant investment from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pinchot State Forest has grown to nearly 50,000 acres and one step closer to fulfilling the most ambitious conservation effort in the history of northeastern Pennsylvania,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

“Protecting and preserving our beautiful state forest system for the residents of Pennsylvania remains a top priority for DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn — who has been exceptional at building the necessary regional partnerships with groups like the Wildlands Conservancy, North Branch Land Trust, and the Earth Conservancy to advance the expansion of the beautiful Pinchot State Forest.”

“This is fantastic news and will help us complete a project that we’ve been partnering with the Earth Conservancy with to add 1,400 acres of land to the Pinchot State Forest over the past two years,” said Paul Lumia, Executive Director, North Branch Land Trust. “With this 1,400 in acreage we have now helped to acquire close to 6,000 acres of land for Pinchot State Forest. We would like to thank DCNR and our partners, the Earth Conservancy for making this happen. This is a beautiful tract of land in the highlands that will serve as a great place for hiking and biking; it’s just a win-win for everybody involved and certainly for the people of northeastern Pennsylvania.”

The Wildlands Conservancy, Inc. will receive $2 million toward the acquisition of approximately 3,798 acres in Kidder and Penn Forest Townships, Carbon County for an addition to the Hickory Run State Park. The Wildlands Conservancy, Inc. will also receive $1 million toward the acquisition of approximately 3,000 acres in Foster and Hazle townships, Luzerne County and Lausanne, Banks and Packer townships and Weatherly Borough, Carbon County for an addition to the Weiser State Forest.

“Wildlands Conservancy is thrilled with the recent C2P2 grant announcement. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources continued investment in the Commonwealth’s natural resources is inspiring,” said Chris Kocher, President, Wildlands Conservancy. “These acquisitions will protect critical natural habitat and ensure the Commonwealth’s citizens have perpetual access to the region’s wonderful natural assets. This most recent grant announcement advances Wildlands Conservancy’s commitment to preserve open space and will add to the organization’s portfolio of protected lands, which now stands at 56,000 acres.”

The grants received today are part of DCNR’s C2P2 Acquisition grants. The DCNR Recreation and Conservation grant program is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources including, the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93) which includes Key-Community and Key-Land Trust; the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF); the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); Pennsylvania Trails fund (PRT – federal source); Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program (HA); and the ATV Restricted Management Account Fund (ATV).