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DER BUYS 3,000 ACRES OF PRIVATE LAND FOR PARKS AND FORESTS

 DER BUYS 3,000 ACRES OF PRIVATE LAND FOR PARKS AND FORESTS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Resources (DER) announced today that it has acquired more than 3,000 acres of private riverfront and forest properties in Clinton, Fayette and Jefferson counties from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
 "These land acquisitions represent our commitment to conserve and protect remaining open spaces for the enjoyment of future generations," DER Secretary Arthur A. Davis said. "Because these properties are located near or within state forests or parks, their purchase will allow us to better manage the natural resources of existing state lands."
 The largest of the three purchases involves 2,200 acres -- commonly known as the Elf Forest Products Tract -- within Sproul State Forest in East Keating Township, Clinton County.
 The conservancy purchased the property from Elf Aquataine Corp., a French conglomerate, for $528,000, or less than $240 an acre. The property was transferred to DER for the same amount.
 The purchase is the fourth major land acquisition by DER for Sproul State Forest, which covers more than 285,000 acres in western Clinton and Centre counties.
 In 1990, DER purchased the 6,700 acre "Murphy Tract" through the conservancy for $1.3 million. Another 894 acres of contiguous property was purchased last year from the North American Refractories Co. for $114,000, completing the holdings within the Murphy Estate area of the forest. A 431-acre tract was purchased from the conservancy in 1986, providing access to a scenic 21-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River.
 The two other land acquisitions announced today add 609 acres to Forbes State Forest in Fayette County and 308 acres to Cook Forest State Park, Jefferson County.
 The Forbes State Forest property, purchased from the conservancy for $447,790, abuts both state forest and game lands and will serve to consolidate the public holdings. It is located just north of the state- owned Quebec Run Wild Area and was previously owned by the Sisters of Charity religious order.
 The new Cook Forest State Park holdings include 3.5 miles of prime frontage along the Clarion River and a separate 100-acre tract, which will be managed as a natural area. The 308 acres were purchased from the conservancy for $113,000.
 "The citizens of the Commonwealth are indebted to the conservancy for its foresight in protecting these valuable natural resources and transferring them to state control without financial gain," Davis said.
 DER holds both mineral and property rights to the new lands, which will protect them from future development or mineral exploration.
 The land purchases were financed by royalties paid to the Commonwealth by companies that drill for natural gas on state land. The royalties are earmarked for conservation expenditures such as land purchases.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/12/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Ellen Bolish of the DER, 717-787-1323/ CO: Department of Environmental Resources; Pennsylvania Governor's
 Office ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


JS -- PH019 -- 7490 03/12/92 15:12 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1992
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