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People visit Ricketts Glen State Park for the lake, camping, hiking, and especially the waterfalls. Photo Credit: Nicole Dumond Photography

Luzerne County, Pa. – Today, The Conservation Fund and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announce the protection of 143 acres of forestland in northeast Pennsylvania.

The property, which was acquired by The Conservation Fund and transferred to DCNR, will be added to Ricketts Glen State Park where it will support greater opportunities for wildlife habitat and public access of one of Pennsylvania’s most popular recreational destinations.

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The additional 143 acres is the "puzzle piece" that fits into the State Park's footprint. Source: The Conservation Fund

This property was a deep indentured inholding on the southern end of Ricketts Glen State Park – like a missing puzzle piece that has opened new opportunities for hikers, explorers, and wildlife-viewers to enjoy.

Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic landscapes in Pennsylvania, attracting over half-a-million visitors each year.

“State parks are a huge driver of Pennsylvania’s recreational economy, and Ricketts Glen is one of the state’s most popular destination for hikers, campers, and nature lovers,” said The Conservation Fund’s Pennsylvania State Director, Kyle Shenk. “This acquisition will provide new opportunities for visitors and protect habitat for migratory birds and wildlife.”

Located within a continentally Important Bird Area, this new addition to the State Park will support breeding habitat for at least 75 species of migratory birds. Under DCNR’s management, the property will remain forested and directly benefit critical habitat for these bird species, among other wildlife like bats, squirrels, rabbits, and deer.

“It’s difficult to improve upon one of Pennsylvania’s most popular and heavily visited state parks, but The Conservation Fund did just that with the acquisition and transfer of this acreage,” said DCNR Secretary, Cindy Adams Dunn. “It’s all here in these 143 acres: watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and public land accessible to all.”

As part of the Susquehanna River Watershed, DCNR’s ownership of this land will also support local water quality and watersheds of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. The property will help protect over 10 acres of freshwater forest and shrub wetlands and conserve an intermittent, unnamed tributary to Philips Creek, a High-Quality stream and tributary to Susquehanna River.

These lands are being conserved by funding from Williams in connection with the construction and operation of the company’s Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project.

The property is located within DCNR’s Poconos Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape Initiative (CLI), a landscape that includes the greatest concentration of wetlands in the state and large tracts of public and private forested lands. To date, this CLI contains over 54,000 acres of State Parks which provide a sense of community, clean water, stormwater retention, clean air, and an abundance of outdoor recreation activities to the community.