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Pennsylvania

Brush Mountain Preserve


Overlooking Altoona, in the heart of the Central Appalachians, Brush Mountain is home to wild turkey, black bear and rare species, such as the federally endangered Indiana bat. Timber rattlesnakes – a species of conservation concern in Pennsylvania – live among the rocky outcroppings.

Comprised largely of mixed oak and hickory species, the 640-acre Brush Mountain Woodlands protects part of a large, intact forest area considered a high priority within the Central Appalachians. Conservancy staff and scientists from six states are working on the Central Appalachians initiative to save one of the Earth’s healthiest, most biologically diverse, deciduous temperate broadleaf forests.

Brush Mountain is part of the nightly foraging area for the federally endangered Indiana bat, as well as the largest maternity colony of little brown bats in Pennsylvania, and provides habitat for the Allegheny woodrat, which is threatened in Pennsylvania. The bat colony spends its days in Canoe Creek State Park, just two miles west of Brush Mountain. Because of its significance to bats as well as to the Pennsylvania-endangered Allegheny woodrat, Brush Mountain is designated as part of the Canoe Creek Important Mammal Area.

The site is also the southern terminus of the Bald Eagle Ridge Important Bird Area, a significant migratory route for raptors and a large intact forest utilized by neotropical migrants. Just to the east of The Nature Conservancy’s tract, Brush Mountain is part of the Canoe Creek Important Bird Area, home to more than 200 species of birds.

The site’s ecological value is also noted in the Blair County Natural Heritage Inventory, which designates Brush Mountain as a County Natural Heritage Area and a Landscape Conservation Area.

Threats
Illegal ATV use, deer overbrowse.

Action
The Conservancy is in the process of enrolling the Brush Mountain property into its Working Woodlands program, which will result in a comprehensive property-wide forest assessment and the creation of a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forest management plan. The Conservancy will then implement a variety of forest management activities to restore the property to a healthier condition. This restoration effort is necessary at Brush Mountain Woodlands because historical high-grading (a poor logging practice that takes the best trees, and leaves a less-healthy forest) was extensive and has left the forest in poor health.  For more information on Working Woodlands, visit the Working Woodlands program page.

Size
640 acres

Location
Logan and Franklin Townships, Blair County

What You'll See
Black bear, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, a range of forest songbirds, and if you’re in the right spot at the right time, rare species like the Indiana bat, Allegheny woodrat and timber rattlesnake. In addition, the north-to-south running ridges of the Appalachians serve as important fall migration routes for raptors and, in the future, may provide the connectivity many animal species will need to migrate away from and adapt to the effects of global climate change.

Visitors can take part in hiking, birding, and hunting. Brush Mountain Woodlands is open for public hunting through cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. For more information, please contact Molly Anderson at molly_anderson@tnc.org or (717) 232-6001, extension 117.

This property is also enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), which is operated by the Game Commission to promote forest regeneration by targeting the most vulnerable and severely impacted tracts for additional antlerless deer harvests. DMAP coupons for the upcoming 2011 hunting seasons will be available beginning mid-summer. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Director of Stewardship, Michael Eckley, at meckley@tnc.org or (570) 322-4132.

Directions

Click here to view a map of the Brush Mountain Preserve.

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