These landscapes range from large forested or rangeland environments to mountainous and scenic areas, but the primary value for which they are identified is conservation of the natural environment and associated ecosystem benefits. This conservation approach includes management for multiple uses purpose – traditionally forestry and grazing, but increasingly for recreational and tourism. Similar to agricultural regions, scale is critical to the value of the conservation landscapes and to their economic viability.
Adirondack Park – Covering 6 million acres, one-fifth of New York State, the Adirondack Park is evenly split between public and private land ownership. The region contains one of the largest stretches of deciduous forests in North America and vast networks of rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. The region protects the natural values such as water quality and provides critical habitat. It also serves as an outstanding recreational resource. Originally founded in 1892 and it was later specially protected by the state constitution. Since 1971, region has been managed under New York State statute by the Adirondack Park Agency. Learn more here.
Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscape Initiatives – The seven conservation landscapes in Pennsylvania are an initiative of the commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Located in regions where the department manages significant land holdings as parks and forests or has made conservation and recreational investments, the seven regions focus on conservation and public enjoyment of natural resources. Almost fifty percent of the state is within a designated landscape, and the partnership strategy developed through this work is used across the state. Learn more here.
Pennsylvania Wilds is the largest of Pennsylvania’s conservation landscape initiatives centered on a rural twelve county region known for its heritage of public lands and small historic communities. With 2 million acres of protected land including 29 state parks, 8 state forests, and the Allegheny National Forest, it is the largest blocks of public land on the country’s east coast. The region’s thickly reforested mountains and many miles of streams attract visitors to hunt and fish, and more recently to play outside. The area is primarily marketed and managed for natural resources and outdoor recreation. A state sponsored Lumber Heritage Area and state funded initiatives to link the historic communities along the region’s historic highways offer new opportunities for heritage tourism.
Other Examples to Watch for: