PA Highlands Coalition

About the Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition

The Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition is a diverse and effective public-private partnership that conserves critical working and natural lands and natural resources and promotes the development and enjoyment of recreational trails in the Pennsylvania Highlands. The Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition has adopted a strategic plan to guide our efforts from 2014-2020.

Mission

Our mission is to conserve and connect critical lands and natural resources across the Pennsylvania Highlands and to promote the recreational enjoyment of these resources.

The Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition has identified common natural, recreational and cultural themes that define the Highlands region. Those include a unique industrial past, a complex network of multi-use trails for recreational use, fertile agricultural lands, outstanding bio-diversity, wooded uplands, and clean drinking water.  In order to preserve and enhance these qualities, the coalition focuses our efforts on these three areas of work:

Land conservation – The Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition’s private land trusts, conservation organizations, and public agencies work cooperatively to advance a shared land conservation vision. The coalition serves as a think-tank where ideas about conservation can be discussed and developed collaboratively. In addition, the coalition works to secure land conservation funding, including nominating projects through the federal Highlands Conservation Act, which funds the highest priority land conservation projects in the region.

Regional and local trail planning – The Pennsylvania Highlands features several local and regional trails such as the Appalachian Trail, the Horse-Shoe Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, the Delaware & Lehigh Trail, and numerous, popular trail networks in places like the Hopewell Big Woods and in the many State Parks within the region. The Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network (PHTN) is a 300 mile trail network that will connect several trail systems across the entire Pennsylvania Highlands region.

Conservation Landscapes – Overlapping four Conservation Landscapes, the Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition collaborates within the Highlands region to advance the goals of these Conservation Landscapes by connecting communities, and trails, and furthering shared regional conservation and recreation goals.

Advocacy and Education– The coalition is actively engaged in educating the public and decision makers about the Pennsylvania Highlands, its history, and ecological significance. This includes working towards a state-wide recognition for the Pennsylvania Highlands region that could include incentives for regionally-based land conservation tools. We also produce educational materials and digital tools to promote and advance regional conservation.

Member organizations

Appalachian Mountain Club
Audubon Pennsylvania
Berks Nature
Brandywine Conservancy
Cooks Creek Watershed Association
Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
Delaware River Greenway Partnership
Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County
French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust
Green Valleys Association
Hay Creek Watershed Association
Heritage Conservancy
Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy
Keystone Conservation Trust
Lancaster County Conservancy
Lancaster County Planning Commission
Lancaster Farmland Trust
Land Conservancy of Adams County
Lebanon County Conservation District
Lebanon Valley Conservancy
Maiden Creek Watershed Association
Manada Conservancy
Montgomery County Lands Trust
Mount Gretna Bird Club
National Park Service – Recreational Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
Natural Lands
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Pennsylvania Association of Watersheds and Rivers
Pine Creek Valley Watershed Association
Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape
South Mountain Conservation Landscape
Susquehanna Greenway Partnership
Tinicum Conservancy
Wildlands Conservancy
The Garden Club of America: Pennsylvania: Wissihickon
York County Planning Commission

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition, contact Mark Zakutansky at 610-868-6915 or mzakutansky@outdoors.org.

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News

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#SaveLWCF: Jacobsburg State Park

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) serves as the main funding mechanism for the Highlands Conservation Act, allowing for the yearly allocation to protect the Pennsylvania Highlands and the rest of the four-state Highlands region. Congressional authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires on September 30, 2018, and must be reauthorized in order for funding to continue.  Read More

Hike the Highlands: Valley Forge National Historic Park

Located on the Southeastern edge of the Pennsylvania Highlands, Valley Forge National Historic Park is a major attraction for history buffs and recreationists alike. The site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army, the park is filled with historic structures and monuments as you wind your way through the vast array of trail offerings. Read More

PA Highlands Coalition Hosts Webinar on Multi-Functional Buffers

On June 12th, the PA Highlands Coalition held a webinar on multi-functional riparian stream buffers. This webinar focused on the ways conservation groups can encourage buffer planting for landowners, the concept of agroforestry, and recent DCNR grants for riparian buffers. Read More

South Bethlehem Greenway Gets New Kiosk

AMC partnered with the city of Bethlehem and the Southside Arts District to design and install a new interpretive kiosk along the South Bethlehem Greenway. Read More