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Conservancy adds 109 acres to State Game Land 197

Photo provided to the Times Observer This photo shows part of 109 acres of wetland and forest preserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and located in Columbus Twp. The land has been added to State Game Land 197.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has secured 109 acres aimed at augmenting a state game land in Columbus Township.

The land is located along the Brokenstraw Creek to the north and west of Columbus and was immediately conveyed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to be added to State Game Land 197.

“This is a beautiful property that has so many conservation benefits, including forest connectivity, water quality protection and recreational value,” says Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy.

“We’re glad to continue our longstanding efforts to add land to the state’s public lands, and this property is a great addition.”

A statement from the Conservancy explains that this land is contiguous to a 321-acre portion of the game land and includes meadows, shrubland, wetlands and forested wetlands.

“A forested section of the property is located in the Brokenstraw Valley Seepage Flats, a Natural Heritage Area Core Habitat that supports plant species of concern, including highbush-cranberry and red currant,” the Conservancy explained.

They say that conserving this last was “ecologically important” for many reasons including “climate change and biodiversity, to support species’ ability to access habitat and or move to more suitable habitat if conditions change.”

State Game Land 197 includes 1,555 acres, including the Tamarack Swamp, which the Conservancy says is an “excellent example of a kettle bog in the northwestern glaciated portion of Pennsylvania.”

Several entities were credited with providing funding for this preservation including the DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Hillman Foundation, Babcock Charitable Trust, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant program in partnership with Ducks Unlimited.

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