A true sportsman understands and champions conservation. In fact, hunters have been some of the conservation movement’s biggest advocates since the beginning. After all, it was President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter himself, who went on to create the United States Forest Service and conserved approximately 230 million acres of public land. Roosevelt recognized that in utilizing the country’s natural resources, we also had a responsibility to ensure that those same resources were sustainable for generations to come. He wrote, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
This past year, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) had the opportunity to work with a like-minded sportsman committed to doing his part through the conservation of his 64-acre property in Columbia County. The landowner grew up hunting in the Berwick area, and through friendly connections had the opportunity to hunt this particular plot of land on Knob Mountain Road in Briar Creek Township over the years. Sitting at the base of Knob Mountain, this stretch of land acts as a highway for white-tailed deer, turkey, bear, and other wildlife. As the landowner explains it, the neighboring farmland is the “refrigerator”, the mountain to the north is the “bedroom,” and the property serves as the “hallway,” connecting the habitat for the wildlife to roam. So when the property came up for sale in 2004, he jumped at the opportunity to call this piece of woodland his own.
He quickly set to work stewarding the land and enhancing the wildlife habitat. He worked with a forester to develop and implement a forest management plan, collaborated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to create wetlands, installed nesting boxes, conducted timber stand improvement activities, built brush piles for wildlife, and planted trees. And while he connected himself more and more to the land, he created opportunities for others to connect as well. Just as those had done for him in past, he invited friends and family to traverse and hunt the land with him. It became a place of respite for a military friend on leave. A learning ground for the grandson of a dear friend. A cultivator for friendships and bonds forged like none other than during hunting season.
Places with the ability to connect people with the land and with each other are special like that. Knowing that he wanted to conserve the wildlife habitat for generations to enjoy beyond his lifetime, he thought back to a conversation he had with NPC Executive Director, Renee’ Carey, nearly 15 years ago. At that time, the landowner was a member of the Fishing Creek Sportsmen’s Association. The Association worked with NPC to establish conservation easements to ensure public access to Fishing Creek. With that positive experience in mind, the landowner reached out to NPC to explore donating his land into a conservation easement with NPC as well.
Fast forward to December of 2023, the ‘Knob Mountain’ conservation easement is officially a part of the landowner and NPC’s legacies!
The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) is a land trust devoted to conserving and enhancing the lands and waters of Northcentral Pennsylvania to support the environmental well-being and recreational needs of local communities. They operate in 12 counties and take on a variety of conservation projects, including working with private landowners to establish conservation easements. Thanks to the generosity of its members and donors, NPC has conserved over 5,400 acres across 52 properties through its conservation easement program. You can help support NPC’s initiatives and make a difference by donating today.