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.
Gallagher and Grugan Townships, Clinton County
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.
What’s At Stake
The preserve and neighboring Sproul State Forest harbor white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, grouse, timber rattlesnake, bobcat, numerous warblers and birds of prey, and native brook trout. The area also boasts abundant wildlife, including river otter, fisher and a recently reintroduced elk herd.
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.