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OSI’s Support Leads to Protection of New Acreage for Gifford Pinchot State Forest

Photo Credit: Rylan Coker

BEAR CREEK TWP, NJ (Sep. 7, 2018)—Thanks to grant support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), an important tract of land that will provide habitat and watershed protection for the Delaware River is now permanently protected. Trails on the property will expand access to the celebrated, adjacent Pinchot State Forest.

The North Branch Land Trust (NBLT) recently purchased the 389-acre tract of forested, mountainous land in northeastern Pennsylvania. The property sits atop the Delaware River Watershed and harbors wetlands and headwater streams that feed into the Delaware River via the Lehigh River.

OSI supported the project through its Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, made possible with support from the William Penn Foundation, which seeks to protect water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

“When kept intact, unspoiled forests are the most effective method of protecting the drinking water of the Delaware River Watershed’s 15 million residents across four states,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president at OSI. “The Open Space Institute congratulates the North Branch Land Trust on their dogged effort to make sure that this land would be permanently protected for the residents of Luzerne County.”

A 2016 Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program survey identified seven dragonfly and damselfly species of concern, and a wetland plant species of special concern, black girdle bulrush (Scripus atrocinctus), living on the property. The land includes Buck Pond, a small leather leaf-sedge wetland, which is the source of Geneceda Creek, designated as a state High Quality Cold Water Fishes stream.

Spanning some 45,000 acres, Pinchot State Forest blankets the mountains near the confluence of the Susquehanna and Lackawanna rivers. The forest is named in recognition of American forester and politician Gifford Pinchot’s contributions to forestry and his legacy of forest land protection.

In addition to OSI’s support, NBLT was able to purchase the land through funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Community Conservation Partnership Program with funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.

OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund is made possible with funding from the William Penn Foundation for its Delaware River Watershed Initiative to protect water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

North Branch will be transferring the 389-acre parcel to the Pennsylvania State Forest system.

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