DCNR Good Natured Blog: Kittatinny Ridge Recognized As PA's Newest Conservation Landscape

As October arrives, wildlife watchers, outdoor adventurers, and citizen scientists head out to enjoy fall foliage and witness the annual migration of raptors and other birds, butterflies, and dragonflies.

Some of the best known locations in Pennsylvania -- Hawk Mountain, Waggoners Gap, Delaware Water Gap, Bake Oven Knob -- lie along the Kittatinny Ridge. This 185-mile stretch in Pennsylvania passing through 12 counties is becoming the newest region to be included as a Conservation Landscape.

Ridge and Valley Province in Pennsylvania

The Kittatinny Ridge is a part of the Ridge and Valley Province, a belt extending from southeastern New York through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and several other states into Georgia and Alabama.

The landscapes in this province are characterized by long, even ridges, with long, continuous valleys in between.

Kittatinny means “the endless mountain” to the Lenni-Lenape tribe of Native Americans that inhabited the region.

The Kittatinny Ridge is a major migratory superhighway that calls to thousands of bird species to follow its narrow spine along the eastern part of the North American continent.

Its unbroken forests and shrub habitat transects Pennsylvania running northeast to southwest from the Delaware Water Gap to the Maryland Border.

It has seven important mammal areas and is globally important as a flyway for 16 different species of raptors and more than 150 species of song birds.

The ridge also includes 160 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

In a study conducted by The Nature Conservancy-PA, the Kittatinny Ridge was determined to be the most climate resilient landscape in Pennsylvania.

This unique designation is assigned to landscapes that provide an unbroken area for plants and animals to move to higher elevations as the climate gets increasingly warmer and habitats change.

Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes

Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes are an innovative framing of the conservation and stewardship of natural resources through partnerships that contribute to the long-term sustainability of special regions throughout the Commonwealth.

Throughout the state, large regions are working together to drive strategic investment and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects.

These collaborations are found in regions where there are strong natural assets, local readiness and buy-in, and state-level investment and support.

With the addition of the Kittatinny Ridge, there are now eight Conservation Landscapes in the Commonwealth.

Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape Goals

Partners in the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape are currently preparing a strategic plan. There are six overarching goals:

-- Conserve land, protecting more than 700 of the highest priority parcels

-- Conserve native habitat and wildlife to support species diversity

-- Share conservation research including regarding habitats, management activities, history and communities

-- Provide clean and plentiful water

-- Protect ridge and trail landscapes through municipal action such as planning and zoning tools

-- Community engagement to raise awareness about the connection between natural resources and economic revitalization

Kittatinny Ridge Partners

Stresses from a changing climate, inundation from exotic and invasive species, an overpopulation of white tail deer, and development have put this natural landscape in critical danger.

In 2002, the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition was created to address these challenges and protect this unique treasure.

The coalition tied together the combined strength of Audubon Pennsylvania, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy-PA.

The coalition is the foundation of partners for the Conservation Landscape.

The Conservation Landscape leaders are DCNR Geologist Supervisor Kristen Hand and Jeanne Ortiz of Audubon Pennsylvania.

Get Involved with the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape

The Kittatinny Coalition is launching a survey to better understand the personal, cultural, and economic value individuals place on the Kittatinny Ridge.

Results may be used to develop improved recreation opportunities, enhance natural resource protection efforts, and develop a communication strategy to boost appreciation for and fill knowledge gaps about the ridge.

The survey is available online until October 28.

For information about things to do outdoors along the Kittatinny Ridge, visit the Kittatinny Ridge website. The site also includes information about ways to make a difference in the landscape.

To learn more about landscape initiatives in other parts of Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s Conservation Landscapes webpage.

For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.


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Related Articles:

Do You Live, Work Or Play On Or Near The Kittatinny Ridge? Share Your Experiences In An Online Survey

The Nature Conservancy-PA, Troegs Independent Brewing Teaming Up To Protect Kittatinny Ridge With New Trail Day Beer

The Nature Conservancy-PA Conservation Easement Protects 1,620 Acres Along Kittatinny Ridge In Perry County

Central PA Conservancy Acquires Mountain Tract On Kittatinny Ridge In Cumberland County

Related Articles This Week:

DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ron Freed, Volunteer Hawk Watcher At Waggoner's Gap, Cumberland County

Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2020 Trail Of The Year

DCNR Issues 2nd Fall Foliage Report, Get Tips On The Best Spots For Viewing

Dept. Of Health: Outdoor Activities Planned This Fall? Protect Yourself From Diseases Carried By Ticks, Mosquitoes

DCNR: Additional State Forest Roads Opening Throughout The State For Hunting Seasons, Other Outdoor Activities

DCNR Recognized With National Climate Adaptation Leadership Award For Adaptation & Mitigation Plan

DCNR Invites Comments On Pennsylvania's 2020-24 Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan

DCNR Posts Recommendations For Shaping State Parks Over Next 25 Years For Public Comment

DCNR Signs Submerged Lands Drilling Lease In Greene County For $162,400 In Upfront Payments

October 2 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

Fall Penn's Stewards Newsletter Now Available From PA Parks & Forests Foundation

Oct. 4 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

[Posted: October 2, 2019]


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