Wildlands Conservancy, the premier nonprofit land trust of the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River watershed, announced the permanent protection of 22 acres of woodlands situated along the Kittatinny Ridge (Blue Mountain) in Washington Township, Lehigh County. The acquired acreage was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand State Game Lands #217.
Most significant perhaps is the exact way in which word of this opportunity reached Wildlands. Last summer, Wildlands’ conservation department received a call from a gentleman representing Mrs. Mildred Hetzer. He produced from her files a letter dated 1987, signed by Charlie Nehf, offering to purchase her 22 acres of land along the Kittatinny Ridge for $400 an acre. Mrs. Hetzer, 99, and in the process of getting her affairs in order, was curious if the per-acre offer still stood. President Christopher Kocher explained that the property was worth considerably more than the decades-old offer, but the gentleman insisted Mrs. Hetzer wished to see the property sold to conservation and to honor the original asking price. With that, the Pennsylvania Game Commission accepted the property, adding it to the 1.5 million acre inventory it provides for wildlife habitat and hunting.
Charlie Nehf would assuredly be pleased. In his lifetime the iconic conservationist, educator and sportsman protected thousands of acres of critical natural habitat on behalf of Wildlands in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission – truly irreplaceable lands like Lehigh Marshes (SGL #312, 3992 acres), Segloch Run adjacent to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (SGL #46, 1093 acres), and the Atlas Property (SGL #222, 2540 acres).
“For anyone involved in hunting, fishing, or conservation in eastern Pennsylvania, the name ‘Charlie Nehf’ is familiar,” says Christopher Kocher, president of Wildlands. “I personally had the privilege of working with him in the mid 1990s. We sadly lost Charlie 20 years ago, but here he is still protecting land today!”