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.
Why It Matters
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.
In response, TNC is teaming up with local landowners and partners around the state to protect 15,000 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.