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Addition at Rothrock a win for climate

Kudos to ClearWater Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the recent addition of 1,271 acres to Rothrock State Forest.

ClearWater Conservancy acquired the land, formerly owned by Dry Hollow Hunting Club, and then transferred the property to DCNR to be added to Rothrock State Forest, where it will be permanently conserved and accessible to the public.

The Dry Hollow property, located northeast of Warriors Mark in northern Huntingdon County, is part of a distinct ecosystem stretching between State College and Tyrone, holding the state’s largest patch of rare woodland habitat known as pitch pine-scrub oak barrens.

ClearWater and DCNR saw the opportunity to protect and restore this habitat and provide public access.

This conservation success is important for several reasons:

— Locally, the Dry Hollow property will offer recreational opportunities, such as hunting, hiking, and biking, at a time when many rely on the natural world to get outside to relax and explore.

— Regionally, these woodlands are part of the same rare habitat one sees in the Scotia Barrens, the largest pitch pine-scrub oak barrens remaining in Pennsylvania and home to rare flora and fauna.

— Globally, this large area of forest helps connect large swaths of protected lands nestled between our forested ridges. Connecting wildlife habitat protects key migration routes for many thousands of animals and improves the health of our community.

— Historically, this property was explored for iron in the early 19th century and remnants of that exploration exist on the property.

As reported in the Mirror, Peter Leese of the Warriors Mark Township Board of Supervisors summed it up well:

“Seldom in the Central Region of Pennsylvania does the opportunity arise where a continuous property of this acreage becomes accessible for preservation and public use. This property could have easily been turned into a housing development, requiring new schools, roads and related infrastructure. Taxpayers have been given a huge reprieve.”

Stan Kotala

Altoona

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