Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: by Don Hopey

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has added another 90 acres of wooded land along the Casselman River in the Laurel Highlands of Somerset County to its Casselman River Conservation Area. 

The property, purchased from Red Rock Enterprises Inc., a Maryland timber company, for $342,000, borders the Great Allegheny Passage trail and includes steep slopes and more than a half-mile of river frontage.

The land purchase is the fourth addition to the conservancy’s Casselman River Conservation Area, expanding the forested preserve to almost 280 acres.  

The new tract will aid efforts to protect water quality in the Casselman and Youghiogheny rivers, preserve important wildlife habitat and help maintain scenic views along the bicycle trail and Casselman River, according to a conservancy release. It’s also part of the conservancy’s broader efforts to “address economic and conservation issues for all of the Laurel Highlands while building a corridor of protected lands along the trail.”

“It is a pleasure to do these project at the Conservancy where we … protect the key view properties along the trail,” Thomas Saunders, conservancy president and chief executive officer, said in the release. “This property is a beautiful and important addition to the protected lands along the trail.”

Funding for purchase of the property, located northeast of the town of Confluence in Addison Township, was provided by the family of B. Kenneth Simon, the McKenna Foundation, and other public and private sources, the conservancy said.  Since 1951, the conservancy has purchased about 83,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Don Hopey: dhopey@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1983 or on Twitter @donhopey