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Ohiopyle, state gamelands in Fayette County benefit from W.Pa. Conservancy acquisitions

Paul Peirce
| Thursday, June 14, 2018, 2:21 p.m.
This waterfall is expected to have more water flowing by the time visitors see this little-known gem on a May 27 Beech Trail Hike in Ohiopyle State Park.
Rose Bando
This waterfall is expected to have more water flowing by the time visitors see this little-known gem on a May 27 Beech Trail Hike in Ohiopyle State Park.

About 205 acres in the Laurel Highlands of Fayette County was recently added to Ohiopyle State Park and State Gamelands 51 in Dunbar Township, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has announced.

A 72-acre forested property with extensive stream frontage along Bruner Run, a headwater stream to the Youghiogheny River, was conveyed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand the state gameland section.

Another 133-acre property with views from above the Great Allegheny Passage bike and hiking trail and the Youghiogheny River, are part of the nonprofit's latest addition to Ohiopyle — a popular state park established in 1951.

Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the conservancy, reported the Ohiopyle property with heavily forested slopes of maple and oak hardwood has a tributary stream to the Youghiogheny River that runs through the property.

“The Youghiogheny River, Great Allegheny Passage trail and surrounding forested areas are conservation priorities for the conservancy, so we are glad to be able to acquire these properties for Ohiopyle State Park and the nearby game land,” Saunders said.

The conservancy recently conveyed the properties to the state Game Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks.

Saunders said the properties expand recreation opportunities for hiking, hunting, bird watching and fishing, while connecting to more than 37,000 acres of state public lands.

The conservancy has focused significant land and water conservation efforts in the Laurel Highlands since the 1950s and has protected more than 83,000 acres of the Laurel Highlands' rivers, forestland, wild areas and scenic ridges throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The conservation of both properties was made possible with funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation. A partial donation from the landowner also supported the purchase of the property added to Ohiopyle.

Funding through the game commission and a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection assisted the property added to the state gamelands.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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