Ricketts Glen State Park is expanding.
The park will add a 143-acre piece of land that was acquired by the nonprofit organization The Conservation Fund and will be transferred to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversees state parks. The park is 13,050 acres without the addition.
The transfer includes forested land on an existing boundary of the current park. It is surrounded on three sides by existing state park land.
The property includes more than 10 acres of freshwater forest and shrub wetland as well as an intermittent creek that runs to Philips Creek, which has been designated by DEP as a “high-quality stream.”
“It’s a wonderful addition to the park,” said Kyle Shenk, The Conservation Fund’s Pennsylvania state director.
It also adds to conservation land that supports breeding habitat for at least 75 species of migratory birds, according to a news release from The Conservation Fund. That land is also important habitat for other wildlife, such as bats, squirrels, rabbits and deer.
“It’s difficult to improve upon one of Pennsylvania’s most popular and heavily visited state parks, but The Conservation Fund did just that with the acquisition and transfer of this acreage,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn in the press release. “It’s all here in these 143 acres: watershed protection, wildlife habitat and public land accessible to all.”
Funding for The Conservation Fund’s purchase came from The Williams Companies, which operates the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. The Conservation Fund transferred the land to DCNR for free, Shenk said.
Ricketts Glen is one of Pennsylvania’s most visited state parks and is well-known for its “Falls Trail” that takes hikers past numerous waterfalls.