Hang-glide pilots who catch the wind at Hyner View State Park will have a safe place to land, thanks to an agreement announced today between The Nature Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The agreement involves the purchase of 66 acres which, combined with an existing 44 acres in West Keating Township, will help conserve public access to forest land and outdoor recreation along the West Branch Susquehanna River in Clinton County.
Ray and Marney McDonald’s 66-acre Hyner View Farm in Chapman Township includes fields, forest land, a portion of Huff Run and the Huff Run Trail, a half-mile stretch of the West Branch Susquehanna River, and one of only two possible landing zones for hang gliding from Hyner View State Park. Under the agreement announced today, The Nature Conservancy has purchased the farm and will transfer the farm in two separate transactions to the Commonwealth‘s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“This property represents one of only two possible hang gliding landing zones from Hyner View State Park,” said Shawn McDuff, president of the Hyner View Hang Gliding Club. “Hyner View is one of the premier hang gliding destinations in the East and this purchase ensures our sport will always be a part of the local outdoor recreation scene.”
Under the land deal, the Commonwealth will purchase the 28 acre southern portion of Hyner View Farm including the hang gliding landing zone and river access.
Hyner View Farm owner Ray McDonald noted, “We’re thrilled that the Conservancy and state were able to protect our farm and forestland. The site could have been purchased by a developer, but will now provide high quality outdoor recreation opportunities for years to come.”
The Conservancy will combine the northern 38 wooded Hyner Farm acres with a separate 44-acre Conservancy-owned parcel in West Keating Township. These two forested parcels will be exchanged for a 60-acre state-owned wooded parcel near the Conservancy’s 3,000-acre West Branch Research and Demonstration Forest in Grugan and Gallagher Townships. Ultimately, the entire Hyner View Farm will be in state ownership and provide numerous high quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the public.
“It’s unusual to have so many outdoor recreational values packed into a single property,” stated Dylan Jenkins, Director of Forest Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Williamsport. “With this purchase and land exchange, we’re ensuring that hang gliding and public river access are protected for future generations.”
“The County fully supports this land protection deal by The Nature Conservancy,” said Clinton County Planner Tim Holladay. “It’s good for public recreation in Clinton County, good for the McDonalds and good for Pennsylvania.”
“We are glad to be able to make this investment to support Clinton County’s interest in outdoor recreation along the river and the economic benefits associated with recreational events and the activities of groups like the Hyner View Hang Gliding Club. That is what the Pennsylvania Wilds initiative is all about,” said Meredith Hill, DCNR’s PA Wilds Director.
The deal will help achieve the Conservancy’s mission of protecting the diversity of life on Earth by securing habitat for forest wildlife, protecting water quality, and promoting low-impact outdoor recreation opportunities. After purchasing the property from The Nature Conservancy, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will meet with interested outdoor enthusiasts to plan for use and improvements to the property. The Nature Conservancy is currently fundraising to pay for their portion of the land transaction.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.