August 12, 2015

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa.—The Conservation Fund and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced today the protection of a significant forest property at Michaux State Forest, thanks in part to funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—the only federal program dedicated to the continued conservation and protection of America’s irreplaceable natural, historic, cultural and outdoor landmarks, which will expire in 50 days under the current authorization. The new addition to the forest will offer multiple benefits, including habitat protection for state-listed plants and animals, local water quality protection, a working forest supporting timber jobs and a variety of outdoor recreational activities.

A celebration and tour of the newly protected land located east of Chambersburg was held this morning and was attended by DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn; U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Director Tony Ferguson; representatives from The Conservation Fund, Franklin County, Green Township, and the offices of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, U.S. Representative Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania State Representative Rob Kauffman; as well as other community partners in this effort.

The 1,100-acre property, previously known as Eagle Rock, will be managed long-term for timber as part of the DCNR’s State Forest Resource Management Plan. DCNR plans to seek certification for the property by the Forest Stewardship Council. By maintaining the working forest quality of the land, this effort will support Franklin County’s timber industry and more than 1,000 timber jobs. The property, featuring existing trails that link directly to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, will also be open for public recreational access. The project also protects tributaries of the Conococheague Creek and serves as an important natural forest buffer to the Guilford Water Authority, which supplies drinking water for residents in south Franklin County.

“Hiking, fishing and hunting are ingrained in Pennsylvania’s culture, and these and many more outdoor activities also attract visitors who spend money in our communities,” Secretary Dunn said. “With the addition of the Eagle Rock property to Michaux State Forest we’re providing more land for the public to enjoy, as well as protecting a forest that supports jobs, wildlife and clean water.”

“Many may not realize as they drive by, hike through or hunt in Michaux State Forest how this extraordinary place is not only connected to the local communities but also supports their health and economies,” said Kyle Shenk, Pennsylvania Representative with The Conservation Fund. “The opportunity to conserve such a sizable property in this area is rare, and we are grateful to partner with the DCNR, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program and local leaders to protect and enhance the quality of the natural resources offered at Michaux State Forest for the benefit of all for years to come. We also thank Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional delegation for their continued support of LWCF, which without action from Congress will expire in 50 days from today.”

This conservation effort was made possible with $1.5 million in federal funding awarded to the DCNR from the LWCF through the Forest Legacy Program; a $1.5 million grant from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program; $679,000 from a DCNR fund from mitigation payments for rights-of-way intended for the acquisition of new state forest lands; as well as local funding from Greene Township and Franklin County. LWCF is a bipartisan, federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties—not taxpayer dollars. LWCF is annually funded by the U.S. Congress, including Pennsylvania’s U.S. delegation that represents the Michaux State Forest: U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, U.S. Representative Bill Shuster, U.S. Representative Scott Perry, and U.S. Representative Lou Barletta.  The program’s authorization will expire on September 30, 2015 without Congressional action.

“Michaux State Forest is one of Pennsylvania’s great natural treasures, and I’m delighted to support the Forest Legacy Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund, which made this project possible,” said Senator Casey, a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.  “Protecting and preserving this area of land is vital to Chambersburg’s economy and health, resulting in job security and improved drinking water quality.  I applaud The Conservation Fund and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in securing this project and helping to support Pennsylvania’s natural resources.”

"I am delighted that we are able to celebrate protecting a bit more of Pennsylvania's beauty.  Michaux State Forest is a jewel of our commonwealth's park areas and the pride of Franklin County,” said Senator Toomey.  “Protecting the forest will encourage those who appreciate the birds, animals, and outdoor activities to visit and will safeguard a working forest supporting timber jobs. I look forward to seeing the forest continue to thrive."

“Pennsylvania is home to some of the most beautiful parks and scenery in the country, and I’m happy that this addition to Michaux State Forest will allow for increased tourism and recreational activities for everyone in the region,” said Representative Shuster.

Through its Forest Legacy Program, the U.S. Forest Service works with states, landowners, and other partners to protect private forest lands from being converted to non-forest uses. The Forest Legacy funding is critical to long-term conservation of important properties like the new addition to Michaux State Forest.

“We’re excited to join with our partners in celebrating the protection of important forested lands in Pennsylvania, especially during the Forest Legacy Program’s 25th anniversary,” said U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Director Tony Ferguson.

Because of its close proximity to burgeoning Chambersburg, Hagerstown, and the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, the land was susceptible to sub-division and development. The Conservation Fund purchased the property from a willing seller in August 2014 and held it until the funding was available. In the last decade, the Fund has helped DCNR protect 3,600 acres at Michaux State Forest.

“Preserving woodlands and watersheds is of vital importance to our residents, and as a result the Franklin County Commissioners allocated $250,000 designated for open spaces and tourism for this land purchase,” said David Keller, Chairman of the Franklin County Commissioners. “The scenic beauty of our pristine forests brings pleasure to Franklin County residents and visitors.”

“Greene Township Supervisors are excited to be part of the Eagle Rock project,” said Shawn Corwell, Township Supervisor. “Rarely does an opportunity come along such as this, to be able to preserve open space and protect watershed resources for generations to come, while at the same time opening a large parcel of forested ground to residents and visitors of Greene Township for recreation opportunities. The Board of Supervisors is proud to support this truly unique and beneficial endeavor.”

Michaux State Forest encompasses more than 85,500 acres in the South Mountain area of Cumberland, Franklin and Adams counties. The forest is named for the French botanist, Andre Michaux, who discovered and named many plants in the 18th century.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land since 1985.

About the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
DCNR’s mission is to conserve and sustain Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ enjoyment. For more information visit

About the Forest Legacy Program
Funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program—celebrating its 25th anniversary—supports voluntary partnerships between states, forest landowners, conservation organizations and others to help conserve environmentally important forests from conversion to non-forest uses. The main tool used for protecting these important forests is conservation easements to provide for jobs, water quality, wildlife, recreation and a host of other public benefits. The program has protected 2.4 million acres across the nation.

About the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
Established by Congress in 1965, LWCF is a visionary and bipartisan federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties for the protection of irreplaceable lands and improvement of outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation. No taxpayer dollars are used to support LWCF. The program has permanently protected nearly five million acres of public lands including forests, natural resources, state and local parks and recreation areas.

In this 50th year of the LWCF, President Obama has called for full, permanent funding in his proposed budget, recognizing that LWCF is one of the nation’s most effective tools for conserving natural landscapes for public outdoor recreation use and enjoyment across the country; preserving and protecting rivers, lakes and other water resources; and expanding the interpretation of historic and cultural sites. August 12 marks 50 calendar days and just 10 legislative days until the current authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires., but there are efforts in the U.S. Congress—such as S. 890—to reauthorize the program and fully fund it at its authorized amount of $900 million. Failure to reauthorize LWCF or weakening this landmark conservation law would have devastating consequences and unravel decades of progress protecting America’s irreplaceable natural, historic and cultural resources.

About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.  

Release Contacts
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 |
Terry Brady | PA DCNR | 717-705-2225 |