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

Learn more about why this forested landscape is a priority for The Nature Conservancy 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

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.

Kittatinny Ridge Map

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

  • A green band on a map represents a forested ridgeline.

    Kittatinny Ridge

    Map (28.67 MB PDF)

    A map of the Kittatinny Ridge illustrates the connectedness of this important landscape. Learn More

    DOWNLOAD

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