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Conservation Easement Donation to Protect Forestland along Bald Eagle Mountain

by on September 06, 2018 12:41 PM

A conservation easement donation from landowners will protect 377 acres of forestland in Halfmoon Township along Bald Eagle Mountain, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced on Thursday.

Property owners Denny and Joan Thomson donated the easement, which limits development and protect a property's natural resources in perpetuity, to safeguard plants and wildlife habitats in what is one of the largest areas of remaining untouched forest in Halfmoon Township.

The Thomsons also will place an agricultural conservation easement on 241 acres of their farmland. That easement will be held by the County Agricultural Lands Preservation Board and will ensure the land continues as a working farm. 

“It was important to us to create a legacy that contributed to the greater conservation good and be a good example for others considering donating land,” Denny Thomson said in a release. “I'm privileged to be on this unique, precious and beautiful spaceship Earth and I'd like to believe I'll leave a little bit of it in better shape than when I first arrived.”

Both having grown up with agricultural roots, the Thomsons moved to Central Pennsylvania in 1970 to work at Penn State. Since then they added adjacent properties to their now 681-acre homestead, "hoping to reduce threats from development and forest fragmentation in Centre County," according to the release.

Their property is interspersed with meadows and wetlands that are recognized by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program as important habitats for plants, reptiles and amphibians. The surrounding forest area supports several rare or threatened species of reptiles and birds.

The easement also will protect Warriors Mark Run, which originates on the property and has a population of native brook trout. The run is a tributary of Spruce Creek, which flows into the Little Juniata River.

“This conservation project would not be possible without all of the partners in the region working to ensure this land remains wild and a place for future conservation planning and learning opportunities,” Joan Thomson said. “This land has been a big part of our lives, and it is satisfying and special to know it will endure.”


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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