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The Nature Conservancy Applauds Kittatinny Ridge Sentinel Landscape Designation

Pennsylvania

A view of a lookout over a large rock over looking a forested area and small river.
Kittatinny Ridge The Hawk Rock overlook is a popular spot for hikers in central Pennsylvania. © Tne Nature Conservancy

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Pennsylvania celebrates today’s designation of the Kittatinny Ridge as one of five new Sentinel Landscapes nationwide.

The Sentinel Landscape Partnership—formed in 2013 by the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Interior—is an effort among those agencies in cooperation with each other and with tribal, state, and local governments, non-governmental agencies, and private landowners to identify landscape-scale areas in the United States where conservation, working lands, and national defense interests converge.

Designated Sentinel Landscapes are anchored by at least one high-value military installation or range; encompass natural areas and agricultural and/or forestry lands; and are the appropriate size and scale needed to address the ecological restoration and other objectives defined for each landscape by the participating agencies, organizations, and landowners.

A purple flower blossoms among large green leaves.
Red trillium Red trillium is among one of the several colorful native species found along the Kittatinny Ridge. © Kelly O'Neill

The newly designated Kittatinny Ridge Sentinel Landscape includes Fort Indiantown Gap, the busiest Army National Guard training center, the Army’s second busiest heliport, and one of only three specialized Army National Guard aviation facilities in the country.

The Sentinel Landscape program helps connect private landowners with voluntary state and federal assistance programs that provide tax reductions, agricultural loans, disaster relief, educational opportunities, technical aid, and funding for conservation easements. By focusing multiple agencies' resources on a Sentinel Landscape, the agencies and their partners can use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and achieve greater conservation outcomes.

“This is a significant conservation victory for one of Pennsylvania’s greatest natural treasures,” said Lori Brennan, Executive Director of TNC in Pennsylvania and Delaware. “The Sentinel Landscape designation will help advance large-scale voluntary and coordinated land protection and management efforts along the Kittatinny Ridge as well as help preserve habitat in one of the most important wildlife corridors in the northeastern United States. We are proud to have worked alongside the Governor’s office and our fellow Kittatinny coalition members to achieve this important milestone.”

"The collaborative efforts of the federal and state agencies, local governments, NGOs, and private landowners within designated Sentinel Landscapes are vital to preserving not only our natural resources and working lands, but the ability of our military forces to test and train at key installations like Fort Indiantown Gap so that they are fully ready to defend the nation when called upon,” said retired Brigadier General Bob Barnes, TNC's national liaison with the Department of Defense.

Quote: Lori Brennan

The Sentinel Landscape designation will help advance large-scale voluntary and coordinated land protection and management efforts along the Kittatinny Ridge.

Executive Director, TNC PA/DE

The Kittatinny Ridge is a key subrange within the Central Appalachians. Identified as the most resilient landscape in Pennsylvania, this forested corridor provides an incredibly biodiverse superhighway that allows wildlife to move safely within and between climate-resilient areas in response to rising temperatures, increased floods, or drought. The continued health of the Kittatinny Ridge is considered critical to the future of hundreds of animal and bird species.

Since 2017, TNC has managed the Hamer Woodlands at Cove Mountain Preserve in Marysville, Pennsylvania, located along the Susquehanna River. The 1,379-acre preserve offers outdoor recreation opportunities for the public while simultaneously protecting and restoring connected lands, healthy forests, and clean water.

For more information, please visit nature.org/Pennsylvania.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.