DCNR Designates Dead Man’s Hollow In Allegheny County As Wild Plant Sanctuary

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Friday announced the designation of a new Wild Plant Sanctuary in the boroughs of Liberty and Lincoln, Allegheny County.

Dead Man’s Hollow, notable as the only Youghiogheny River tributary valley free of roads and other infrastructure, becomes the 17th tract to be accepted into the DCNR Wild Plant Sanctuary Program.

The distinction recognizes the dedication of Allegheny Land Trust to restore the property and conserve its impressive biodiversity.

“Since it began in 2009, the Wild Plant Sanctuary Program has promoted conservation of natural areas and native plants, while recognizing private landowners who serve as models of good conservation and stewardship of these special resources," said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “These properties serve as models for other landowners, offering strategies to conserve rare plants as part of their management plans."

Acquired by the land trust in 1996, this 450-acre tract of forest is still recovering from quarrying and industrial development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Shattered pipes, kiln foundations, and building shells, now decorated with graffiti, are all that is left of a terracotta pipe factory that eventually burned in the 1920s.

Though profitable in the past, today the land is valued for a different kind of green, which really does grow on trees.

By removing invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, bush-honeysuckles, and garlic mustard, ALT is breathing new life into Dead Man’s Hollow. The native plant community is beginning to return with the absence of invasive competitors.

A diverse assemblage of spring wildflowers can be viewed on six miles of trails, including Virginia bluebells, large white trillium, bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and fire pink.

Visitors can climb to the top of table rock to view the stream valley below, perhaps catching a glimpse of a brilliant scarlet tanager.

Dead Man’s Hollow is an excellent place to birdwatch and is an important breeding area for forest interior birds, which require tracts of continuous forest habitat. Acadian flycatcher; American redstart; cerulean warbler; black-billed cuckoo; wood thrush; and broad-winged hawk are just a few of the resident species, with many more passing through during annual migrations.

Click Here to see photos and video from Dead Man’s Hollow.

ALT will be commemorating the designation on May 7 with an educational wildflower hike. Participants are asked to register online.

ALT protects more than 2,000 acres of green space in Allegheny and Washington Counties.

The Wild Plant Sanctuary Program was established through the Wild Resource Conservation Act of 1982 to form a voluntary statewide network of native plant sanctuaries. Landowners agree to protect the area and educate others about the importance of native and wild plants and habitats.

In return, they receive any needed assistance with developing a management plan and have access to technical assistance and ecological checkups.

For more information, visit DCNR’s Wild Plant Sanctuary Program webpage, contact DCNR's Bureau of Forestry at 717-787-3444, or send email to: RA-PAPlantSanctuary@pa.gov.

For more information, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter,  Click Here for upcoming events.  Click Here to be part of DCNR’s Online Community,  Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.


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