Sometimes news from just outside the Chesapeake watershed is pretty important — and this is one of those times. Last week, The Conservation Fund announced the purchase of the 32,598 acre Clarion Junction Forest in Pennsylvania’s Elk and McKean counties.
This working forest lies in the Clarion River watershed, which flows to the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. But it is also within the Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the Commonwealth’s major Conservation Landscape initiatives. About half of the huge Pennsylvania Wilds lies within the Susquehanna and Chesapeake watersheds.
Conserving working forests is a core goal of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. And the timing of conservation efforts like this action for the Clarion Junction Forest is critical. Brian Dangler, Conservation Fund Vice President and Director of the Working Forest Fund, says “We are in an entirely new era of private forest ownership in America. The transfer of large, industrial-size forests is happening so quickly, we only have a very short window to protect these forested landscapes to ensure their ecological benefits and that they can remain the backbone of rural economies and traditional uses nationwide.”
At the Clarion Junction Forest, the Conservation Fund will work with public and private partners in the coming years to determine strategies to ensure the lands remain healthy working forests. The strategies could include placing conservation easements on the land and transferring it to private ownership or conveying the land to a public agency for permanent protection. Read more.
The Conservation Fund is a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership.