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Pennsylvania DCNR Awards Grant to Help Protect 80 Acres in Dauphin County By Adding Land to Boyd `Big Tree' Conservation Area.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary John C. Oliver today presented a $74,000 Land Trust grant to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy to help with the purchase of 80 acres of woodland in Dauphin County atop Blue Mountain.

The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (CPC) has purchased the property in Lower Paxton and Middle Paxton townships for $136,000. The Conservancy used today's event to kick off its fundraising campaign for donations to pay off the property. Upon successful completion of the campaign, CPC will deed it to the Commonwealth as part of the Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area.

"Last year, Alex Boyd so generously gave more than 900 acres to the Commonwealth to preserve a beautiful tract of woodlands just minutes from the densely populated urban and suburban areas of Harrisburg," Secretary Oliver said. "Now, thanks to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy and donors, we will expand this wonderful parcel."

The heavily wooded Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area opened last year. The property remains undeveloped, serving as a sanctuary for mature trees and as an environmental-education study area. It also is used for hiking, bird watching, hunting, cross-country skiing and other passive recreation.

"The Conservancy is pleased to be partnering with DCNR on another important project that protects open space and provides opportunities for recreation as well as the observation of Penn's Woods," Conservancy Chair Carol A. Witzeman said. "The new acreage puts us one step closer to bridging the 937-acre Conservation Area with Lower Paxton Township's Hocker Park."

Conservation areas are managed as part of the Pennsylvania's state park system. They are distinguished as large tracts with few services or facilities and no through roads. Recreational facilities and resource- management efforts are minimal, and no major development takes place.

In addition to Boyd Big Tree, conservation areas include Ibberson, also in Dauphin County, and Varden in Wayne County.

Boyd Big Tree is managed through Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, by Park Manager Harold Bloom.

The Land Trust Grant program is part of the Schweiker Administration's Community Conservation Partnership Program -- a grant and technical-assistance program launched in 1995 to help communities and non-profit organizations conserve natural and cultural resources; provide outdoor recreation; enhance tourism; and foster community and economic development. Grants help to protect open space, conserve river resources, improve community recreation and build trails and greenways.

The Land Trust Grant program is funded by the Keystone Park, Recreation and Conservation Fund with supplemental funding provided by "Growing Greener." Since the Land Trust Grant program began in 1995, more than $35 million in funding has been approved to assist with acquisition of almost 45,000 acres.

Land Trust monies help protect critical floodplains along creeks; rare, threatened and endangered species; and community open space threatened by development.

The CPC grant was part of a statewide announcement made in April by Gov. Schweiker. The state awarded 19 grants totaling $4.35 million to help protect more than 2,900 acres of critical habitat and open space across Pennsylvania.

For more information about Boyd Big Tree Preserve, contact Little Buffalo State Park at (717) 567-9255. For Conservancy information, contact John Plowman, executive director of CPC, at (717) 233-0221.

CONTACT: Terry Brady of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, +1-717-772-9101.

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Contact: Terry Brady of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, +1-717-772-9101

Website: http://www.state.pa.us/
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Date:Aug 1, 2002
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