The Nature Conservancy acquired the Cove Mountain Preserve, a 353-acre property located just minutes from Harrisburg in Marysville, in February after it was under threat for development. Since then, the staff has developed a management plan for conserving the preserve’s native forest and local wildlife that includes the federally-threatened Allegheny woodrat, a grove of paw-paw trees, and migrating raptors and songbirds. Recent improvements also include an information kiosk and a trail map highlighting trails along old logging roads, many which showcase breathtaking views of the Susquehanna River and historic Rockville Bridge.
The preserve is now open for passive recreation such as hiking, bird-watching, photography, and hunting (in accordance with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Public Access Cooperator Program and Deer Management Assistance Program).
“Cove Mountain occupies a special role in Central Pennsylvania’s natural heritage,” said Josh Parrish, director of the state chapter’s Working Woodlands Program. “We look forward to providing a new place for all of us here in Central Pennsylvania to enjoy forever.”
In addition to its unique natural features, the Cove Mountain Preserve represents a stronghold within the Kittatinny Ridge, a chain of forested ridgetops that serves as one of the most important wildlife corridors within the northeastern U.S. The property is also nestled within the Susquehanna Water Gaps, one of 28 National Natural Landmarks in Pennsylvania recognized by National Park Service.
“Cove Mountain was under threat from development and now will be protected forever. Centrally located thousands of residents in the Harrisburg region in the heart of the Kittatinny Ridge, this area is a critical migratory area for birds and animals,” said Bill Kunze, director of the Pennsylvania Chapter. “We are proud to provide a natural respite close to the capital region where people can retreat to enjoy an experience in nature.”
Kunze and the Conservancy’s partners in Central Pennsylvania expects that the new Cove Mountain Preserve will also advance goals that reach beyond the preserve’s conservation and recreation values.
“We congratulate The Nature Conservancy for taking a major step in safeguarding this portion of the Kittatinny Ridge and the Susquehanna Water Gaps,” said Anna Yelk, executive director at the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy. “Current and future generations may now benefit from these unspoiled forested ridgeline views, improved air and water quality, and a publicly accessible natural area close to urban and suburban centers. We look forward to partnering further to continue similar protections in this treasured region of Pennsylvania.”