Adjoined by state conservation lands and in close proximity to Hyner View State Park, a popular hang gliding area, The Nature Conservancy's West Branch Forest Preserve is nestled within an area many consider to be a recreational paradise. In addition to supporting opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, the preserve serves as a research and demonstration project for sustainable forestry, earning Forest Stewardship Council certification—the global gold standard for forest management—in 2008. Since then, TNC has implemented many activities designed to restore degraded forest and establish new, high-quality early and late-successional forest at the preserve.
Nearby natural gas drilling and gas transmission activities threaten to fragment forests, which could compromise water quality in the area. Illegal ATV trespass has also been observed on parts of the property. New forest pests are being introduced through increased human activity, and are threatening the health of our forests.
Over-abundant deer, considered by some to be a bigger threat to eastern forests than climate change, jeopardize the preserve's ecological health. In response, TNC has installed trail cameras in order to monitor the health and habits of deer located on the preserve.
TNC purchased the 3,034-acre West Branch tract from a private owner because it connected with existing state-owned holdings in the Sproul State Forest and Bucktail Natural Area to connect a total of 18,000 acres.