If you are hiking the Horse-Shoe Trail through Manada Conservancy’s newest preserve in late spring or early summer, you might hear the flute-like call of the Wood Thrush, or you might enjoy the feathery branches of the hemlocks you pass through the woods. But even in the winter, it is a beautiful landscape.
This preserve was recently acquired through the work of many partners. The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation (WBWF) first obtained it through the Fort Indiantown Gap Army Compatible Use Buffer program (ACUB). WBWF was able to donate it to Manada Conservancy because of the property’s high value to the community. It is traversed by the historic Horse-Shoe Trail, a 140-mile hiking and equestrian trail that begins at Valley Forge and terminates at its intersection with the Appalachian trail in northern East Hanover Township. During the transaction, Manada Conservancy granted the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy a permanent trail easement across the property.
The 40-acre preserve is also right along the Kittatinny Ridge (which some call First or Blue Mountain), a globally Important Bird Area, because it is a major migration route for raptors and songbirds. This property helps to protect the unbroken forested mountain ridge so wildlife can move safely and feed and rest on their long journeys. It is also important to all of us for its contribution to clean water, carbon sequestration, and climate resiliency.
Many thanks to WBWF, Fort Indiantown Gap, and the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology (which, through its Breeding Bird Blitz, helped with the transaction costs for this project), as well as to the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy. Each of these partners adds a “win” to the win-win-win-win of this project!
Manada Conservancy is also grateful for the many members and donors who have purchased “footprints” toward Manada Conservancy’s Pathway to Preservation fund, which helped to finish out the needed transaction costs.