Clearwater Conservancy is One Step Closer to Expanding Rothrock State Forest
ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania is one major step closer to its goal of expanding Rothrock State Forest.
Clearwater is one of the latest recipients of a Community Conservation Partnerships Program grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The DCNR program is intended to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments and organizations to develop and improve parks and other recreational areas.
ClearWater will receive $565,500 to acquire 281 acres off of Whitetail Lane and adjacent to Rothrock State Forest on Tussey Mountain in Harris and Ferguson townships for forest habitat and recreation.
Currently, Richard and Bernadette Hale own the land. ClearWater Land Conservation Manager Kevin Abbey said the group is working with the couple to acquire the property and then transfer ownership to Rothrock State Forest.
Once ClearWater transfers the property to the state forest the land will be available for public use for activities such as hiking, biking, bird watching and other recreation.
“The fact that this grant has been awarded moves us a huge step forward to acquiring and widening the lands associated with Musser Gap,” Abbey said. “What the Hale property does is it expands and enhances by protecting more property, so that this will not be developed. … This moves us a huge step forward and we’re very excited. We’ve been working on this a long time. So it’s significant.”
ClearWater led a similar effort to acquire 423 acres known as Musser Gap. The group acquired the property in 2007 and transferred the land to Rothrock State Forest. Acquiring Musser Gap is part of a larger plan to create a bike path from State College up through Tussey Mountain to the county line.
“The idea is that this property becomes … a logical adjacent parcel that strengthens and enhances Musser Gap from the standpoint of both ClearWater and the Bureau of Forestry,” Abbey said.
The DCNR also issued a $200,000 grant to Ferguson Township to develop Westfield-Hillside Farm Estates Park, including construction of a pavilion and multipurpose field and installation of play equipment and a pedestrian walkway. It includes parking and storm water control measures, as well as access for people with disabilities and landscaping.
Other local grants include:
- $115,000 to Benner Township for development of the Spring Creek Canyon Trail, including construction of 1.2 miles of trail along Spring Creek from Rock Road to Shiloh Road.
- $25,000 to State College Borough to rehabilitate and further develop High Point Park. Work includes construction of a pedestrian walkway, access for people with disabilities, landscaping, signs and other improvements.