A rocky outcrop frames a view of a river valley.
Kittatinny Ridge The Hawk Rock Overlook is a popular spot for Central Pennsylvania hikers. © The Nature Conservancy

Pennsylvania

Kittatinny Ridge

Learn why this forested landscape is a priority for TNC and our partners in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s remarkable Kittatinny Ridge is part of an unbroken chain of forested mountains that forms a vital link in the 1,500-mile-long Appalachian Mountain Range stretching from Newfoundland to Alabama—a mosaic of rugged topography and varied elevation that makes it one of the most diverse habitats on Earth. In Pennsylvania, this forested corridor allows wildlife to move north or south and has been identified as the most resilient landscape in the state for adapting to a changing climate. That is why The Nature Conservancy is working with local, state and federal partners to conserve more than 15,000 acres over the next three years.

More About the Kittatinny

Blue Mountain, Kittatinny Ridge, Endless Hill, Great Mountain—there are many names for the remarkable ridge that forms a 185-mile curving spine through Pennsylvania—from the Mason Dixon line to the Delaware River Gap. For early settlers, it served as a barrier to westward migration. Today, it is the striking visual backdrop in the daily lives of millions who also depend on the landscape’s headwater sources for clean drinking water and provides opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking and other recreational activities.

Lasting conservation depends on identifying and protecting places—natural strongholds—where complex topography, connected natural cover and high quality biodiversity buffer the effects of climate change.

Resilient Sites for Conservation in the Eastern United States

Why It Matters: Resilient Landscapes

As the climate changes, the Kittatinny mountains matter more than ever. Nature’s future depends on resilient landscapes, places most likely to provide a range of conditions so plants and animals can move—to higher elevations and points north—and form new, healthy communities as their habitats change. The Kittatinny Ridge is the single most important resilient landscape in Pennsylvania, and key to the role the entire Appalachian chain must play in preserving the forests, clean streams and diversity on which all life depends.

What We're Doing

The Kittatinny Ridge works as a refuge and a corridor because it is unfragmented, with few major roads or developments. For the Ridge to play its vital role in helping nature adapt to climate change, it must stay that way.

Development pressures are rising, especially from urban areas such as Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg. Interruptions in forest cover created by residential and commercial projects, highways and energy development can be insurmountable barriers to nature’s movements.

To safeguard this mostly intact wildlife superhighway, TNC is working with landowners and partners to protect 25,000 acres of the most critical, connected lands on and next to the ridge—from the Mason-Dixon Line right through northeast Pennsylvania. Our goal is to ensure that songbirds, hawks, eagles, bears and even plants can travel as they must, and that nature will continue to provide the clean streams, rich forests and biological diversity on which all our lives depend.

TNC recently completed two land transactions protecting 359 acres. In April 2020, we announced the acquisition of 232 acres of forestland in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County with financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. The property will be transferred to the Bureau of Forestry and become part of the Buchanan State Forest.

In June 2020 we acquired 127 acres of forestland in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County, with financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The parcel was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and has been added to State Game Lands 217 and is directly adjacent to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Its protection will help buffer the Trail and protect the wilderness experience along the Trail.  

Beer can sitting on a rock wall
Kittatinny Partnership Protecting the Kittatinny Ridge for people and nature. © Jeremy Drey / Tröegs Independent Brewing

Brewing for a Good Cause

The connection between healthy forests, clean water, and good beer is the inspiration behind our partnership with Hershey-based Tröegs Independent Brewing. Tröegs has created a limited-edition beer—Trail Day—to support the company's Kittatinny Fund dedicated to conserving this important natural area.

Founders (and brothers) Chris and John Trogner grew up in the shadow of the Kittatinny Ridge and it passes within 10 miles of the brewery. "We know this land well. We’re proud to be working with TNC to help protect a place that does so much for Pennsylvania and beyond.”

  • A map of the 185-mile long Kittatinny Ridge which runs  from the Delaware River to the Mason-Dixon Line in Pennsylvania.

    Kittaninny Ridge Map

    The Kittatinny Ridge stretches for 185 miles, from the Delaware River to the Mason Dixon Line in Pennsylvania.

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Help TNC and partners sustain a vibrant future for the people and wildlife sharing Pennsylvania’s diverse landscape.