About the Ridge

The Ridge is our gateway to the wild and the heart of our land.

Photo: Phil Campbell

Can you hear it? The Ridge is calling.

The Kittatinny Ridge—also known as Blue Mountain and North Mountain in some regions—runs through Pennsylvania for 185 miles from the Delaware Water Gap to the Mason-Dixon Line. The Ridge is the first prominent landscape feature you encounter as you move north or west from Philadelphia, and it marks the entrance to Pennsylvania’s Ridge and Valley Region. It provides the scenic backdrop to life in 12 counties, and is considered the most resilient landscape in the state for adapting to a changing climate.

The Ridge is home to the world-famous Appalachian Trail and is a Global Important Bird Area. As a premier raptor migration corridor in the northeastern U.S. (one of the leading such sites in the world), it is used by tens of thousands of hawks, eagles, and falcons each fall. Other species migrate through, including Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Monarch Butterflies. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is among the best known hawk-watching sites in the East, and the Ridge contains numerous game lands, creeks, lakes, hiking trails, ski areas, and parks.


What the Ridge Provides

  • Clean and reliable drinking water
  • A multitude of recreational options, including hiking on the Appalachian Trail, hunting and fishing
  • An abundance of wildlife, including the world-famous fall raptor migration
  • Breathtaking scenery, both from the top of the Ridge and from miles away
  • Economic benefits from the many visitors to the region’s parks, trails, and game lands

The Ridge is Under Threat

Like most areas along the East Coast, the Kittatinny Ridge and the Appalachian Trail face a host of formidable threats. Chief among them are habitat loss due to residential and commercial development and energy infrastructure. While the Ridge contains many parks and game lands, the majority of land is privately owned and vulnerable to development in areas with increasing populations. Overabundant white-tailed deer, invasive exotic plant species, and a changing climate provide added stresses to this natural landscape.

Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape (KRCL)

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) designated the Kittatinny Ridge a Conservation Landscape (one of eight in PA) in 2018. Founded on a “sense of place,” a Conservation Landscape is a large region where residents, local officials, organizations, and agencies work together to drive strategic investment and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, civic engagement, and recreational projects. The landscape has strong natural assets, local readiness and buy-in, and state-level investment and support.

The KRCL is managed by a DCNR Internal Staff Lead; Audubon Mid-Atlantic, the External Lead Organization; and a KRCL Steering Committee. The KRCL Steering Committee includes DCNR representatives, five primary KRCL partners, and stakeholders representing the broader Conservation Landscape. The KRCL supports partner activities through an annual Mini-Grant Program.

KRCL Goals:

  • Identify and protect biologically important land and open space to advance wildlife and water conservation along the Ridge.
  • Build community identification with, and ownership in, the Kittatinny Ridge as a critical/valued natural asset.
  • Collaborate with counties, municipalities, and other organizations along the Ridge to contribute to their collective understanding of the ecological, economic, recreational, and social values of protecting the Ridge and advance the adoption of land-use, sustainability and climate resiliency plans, and programs and policies which foster its natural health.
  • Promote science as a basis for the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape’s recommendations/actions by enlisting support from academicians and scientists who generate research that is relevant to the Ridge.

Learn about the KRCL Conservation Plan.
Read the KRCL Strategic Plan.

Land Acknowledgment

Kittatinny means “big mountain,” named by the Lenni-Lenape tribe of Native Americans that inhabited this region. The Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape is land which is the traditional ancestral homeland of the Lenni-Lenape as well as the Susquehannock and the Massawomeck People, past and present. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the indigenous people who have stewarded this land throughout the generations, who have ongoing spiritual and cultural connections to the landscape. We also acknowledge the hardships they continue to endure after the loss of unceded homelands and emphasize the importance of fostering relationships and opportunities that strengthen the well-being of indigenous communities who carry forward the traditions of their ancestors.

Explore the Ridge

Visit our Story Map to learn how the Kittatinny Ridge has changed over time.


Things to Do

The consequences of inaction on climate change will be felt by all Pennsylvanians. It will affect the food we grow, the energy we use, our recreation, and even our health.

Patrick McDonnell / Acting Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection