With Support from OSI, Wildlands Conservancy Protects 500 Acres in Lehigh River Headwaters

Image Credit: Wildacres Conservancy

EMMAUS, PA (March 23, 2018) – With support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), Wildlands Conservancy, a Lehigh Valley nonprofit land trust, has conserved important habitat in eastern Pennsylvania. The land, located near the headwaters of the Lehigh River, also further safeguards drinking water resources within the greater Delaware River Watershed.

The 500-acre “Klondike” property is located approximately 30 miles west of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Upon its conservation, the property was transferred immediately to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, for inclusion into State Game Lands 312.

OSI provided more than $430,000 for the project through its Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund. Capitalized by the William Penn Foundation, the Fund aims to conserve 30,000 acres of pristine forestland to protect the Delaware Watershed. Containing several miles of the Lehigh River and more than 200 acres of pristine wetlands, the Klondike property plays an invaluable role in safeguarding local drinking water resources.

“The Klondike property’s clean headwater streams and its pristine forestland will help protect the drinking water supplies of tens of thousands of residents downstream, forever,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president of OSI. “This project truly represents the value of public-private partnerships in protecting the land that matters. The Open Space Institute congratulates the Wildlands Conservancy on their completion of this amazing project.”

“The Klondike property has long been the highest rated property for preservation in the upper Lehigh River watershed. It cradles the slim, blue ribbon that swells to become our mighty Lehigh – the same water hundreds of thousands use for drinking, recreation, fishing and boating,” says Christopher Kocher, president of Wildlands. “This property will provide many benefits, including clean, abundant water, high quality natural habitat and recreational lands for generations to come.”

The wooded property straddles Clifton Township, Lackawanna County and Sterling and Lehigh townships, Wayne County. It is adjacent to State Game Lands 312, now a 4,400-acre property including this 500-acre addition, which provides hunting opportunities for turkey, grouse and waterfowl.

In addition to OSI, other organizations that contributed funding to the $2.45 million project include the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Palmerton Natural Resource Trustee Council.

Also notable are generous contributions from sportsmen’s groups including, Honkendaqua Trout Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Northampton County Federation of Sportsmen and the Ruffed Grouse Society, along with private donations. 

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