After three years of hard work, on April 27th, Jane Ransom (former) CEO of The Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, and Nancy Cladel, President of the Manada Conservancy, signed a conservation easement that protects the 762-acre Camp Small Valley Girl Scout Camp in perpetuity. This beautiful wooded property is within the northern portion of the Kittatinny Corridor, in Jefferson Township, Dauphin County, and is adjacent on the north to the Haldeman Tract of the Weiser State Forest, as well as to a 66-acre previously preserved property to the east. The project was made possible through Keystone funding and through the generousity of a number of donors, whose contributions enabled the Conservancy to supply the match. A celebration was held in May to thank partners and donors, each of whom had a significant and crucial part to play in making the project possible.
Most of the property is protected at the highest level and will remain as undisturbed forest. The existing camp facilities area will continue to be utilized as it has been, and may be improved to enhance the educational and outdoor recreational experience of campers. The easement ensures that this landscape will always be available for allowing children and adults to enjoy the natural environment, while also protecting the valuable habitat, resources and recreational benefit for the public. Small Valley is one of the locations in which Saw-whet owl banding and research takes place, so the little owls are also beneficiaries of the project.
Throughout his forty-four years of owning 46 acres on the Kittatinny Ridge, Dr. William Gordon and his late wife, Doris admired myriad songbirds, mammals and other wildlife that paid visits to their property in West Hanover Township, Dauphin County. He frequented the trails that run through the woodland and that lead to the beautiful view at the top of the Ridge. This July, Dr. Gordon chose to preserve this property and its resources for future generations, and he placed a conservation easement with the Manada Conservancy. The property is adjacent to an existing 77-acre preserve, which was acquired by the Conservancy earlier, providing contiguous protected acreage in an area that has experienced significant development in recent years. Also on the property are wetlands and headwaters of the Beaver Creek. We thank Dr. Gordon and his family for their vision and their contribution to the health and integrity of this part of the Kittatinny Ridge.