Having realized their plane was being hijacked and was part of a larger attack on America that already resulted in two other planes crashing into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, the passengers traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, on Flight 93 decided to fight back. As they attempted to overtake the plane, the terrorists intentionally crashed it into an open field near rural Shanksville, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and flight crew on board.

The flight data recorder that was recovered from the crash site revealed that the terrorists’ target was Washington, D.C., likely the United States Capitol Building. Flight 93 crashed only 20 minutes flying-time from Washington, D.C.

Honoring the Heroes

In 2002, Congress passed the Flight 93 Memorial Act authorizing the creation of the Flight 93 National Memorial at the crash site. Since then, the Conservation Fund has worked with the National Park Service and other public and private partners to secure funding and land for the memorial.

To complement the memorial, in 2006 the Fund and the Pennsylvania Game Commission established State Game Lands 93 by protecting 100 acres located immediately north of the Flight 93 National Memorial site. The land was purchased from the Berwind Natural Resources Corporation. Public and private partners, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the McCune Revolving Fund, National Park Service and Richard King Mellon Foundation helped with the acquisition.

Also in 2006, the Game Commission approved three parcels totaling approximately 300 acres for State Game Lands 93 and an additional 96 acres was donated by CONSOL Energy to the Fund in September 2007. In 2011, the Fund acquired a 56 acre property within the Flight 93 National Memorial boundary, which will become part of State Game Lands 93, from the Families of Flight 93, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a permanent memorial to the crew and passengers of Flight 93.

State Game Lands 93 is open to the public for recreation and hunting. It also protects wildlife habitat, provides open space, serves as a land buffer for the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial and preserves the memorial’s natural setting and viewshed.

Why This Project Matters

The September 11th attacks were the deadliest attacks on American soil by a foreign entity. Preserving this place where history was made not only tells the story of that day, but also honors the individuals who gave their lives to save others. To date, we’ve helped protect over 600 acres within the Flight 93 Memorial boundary and State Game Lands 93.