Cline Family Partners With DCNR To Formally Designate Windinoll Wild Plant Sanctuary In Allegheny County

On June 1, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the formal designation of a new Wild Plant Sanctuary in Allegheny County.

The Windinoll Wild Plant Sanctuary, characterized by rich wooded slopes and stream floodplain, becomes the 18th tract to be accepted into the DCNR Wild Plant Sanctuary Program.

The distinction recognizes the commitment of landowner Betty Jane Cline and her daughter Amy L. Cline to conserve the sanctuary through conservation-based practices.

“Since its inception 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."

A botanical survey conducted on the property in 2016 by botanist Loree Speedy documented a diverse community of spring ephemeral wildflowers.

Bloodroot, great white trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, yellow trout-lily, Carolina spring beauty, cutleaf toothwort, rue anemone, dwarf larkspur, and more bloom in early spring before the sugar maple canopy intercepts the sun.

A rare hybrid between the relatively common red trillium and proposed Pennsylvania Threatened declined trillium was documented on site.

In addition, interesting or uncommon species, some more typical of the Midwest or Southern Appalachians, include great waterleaf, violet wood sorrel, nodding rattlesnake-root, Tennessee starwort, Short's aster, and few-flowered valerian.

Although a natural gas pipeline right-of-way bisects the property, the lack of invasive plants and presence of large trees and a high-quality plant community indicate that much of the sanctuary has been spared from major disturbances in recent years.

The increased light level and disturbed soil associated with the right-of-way may necessitate careful monitoring and control of invasive plant infestations in the future.

Windinoll Wild Plant Sanctuary is located on private property and is not open to the public.

The Wild Plant Sanctuary Program was established through the Wild Resource Conservation Act of 1982 to create 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 on the program, visit DCNR’s Wild Plant Sanctuary webpage, contact DCNR's Bureau of Forestry at 717-787-3444, or email

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.

[Posted: June 1, 2021]


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