Westmoreland Land Trust Acquires New Property to Link Duff and Pleasant Valley Parks in Murrysville

The Westmoreland Land Trust recently acquired a piece of property in Murrysville that, for the first time, will allow nature enthusiasts to move unrestricted on foot or bike between Duff and Pleasant Valley parks.

The non-profit land trust worked with the Municipality of Murrysville and the private property owner to negotiate the acquisition of this long, narrow, 22-acre parcel that creates a continuous green corridor linking the two existing natural areas.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to acquire this property because it allows us to join these two large and popular outdoor recreation areas together,” said Charles Duritsa, Westmoreland Land Trust chair. “This one parcel connects almost 500 acres of natural area.”

The Westmoreland Land Trust also recently acquired an additional 75 acres that will be added to Duff Park, increasing its size to 237 acres. Duff Park is an extraordinary natural area that has been designated as a Pennsylvania Wild Plant Sanctuary. It also is home of one of Pennsylvania’s few remaining deciduous old-growth forests areas (with trees of estimated age of 215 to 240 years). Many visit Duff Park to enjoy its forest and native wildflowers, walking trails, and scenic views overlooking Turtle Creek.

Pleasant Valley Park contains 260 acres of woods, open fields, hills and valleys, crossed with a network of hiking/mountain biking trails.

The Westmoreland Land Trust accomplished this latest land acquisition with grant funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Municipality of Murrysville, and a private donation made on behalf of the Murrysville Trail Alliance. The parcel will be turned over to the Municipality of Murrysville to add to its park system later this year.

In addition to this new 22-acre greenway link, the five-year-old Westmoreland Land Trust has acquired an additional 184 acres in Westmoreland County, including:

  • the 59-acre Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve in Ardara, North Huntingdon Township,
  • 22 acres in Murrysville adjacent to the Lillian Kellman Nature Reserve and now known as the Peter and Victoria Skena Nature Reserve,
  • 21 acres in Rostraver Township along the Youghiogheny River,
  • 3.5 acres in the City of Greensburg near Cabin Hill Drive,
  • 4 acres in Ligonier Township along Route 30 (conserved in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Loyalhanna Watershed Association),
  • 9 acres in Murrysville adjacent to Duff Park,
  • 16.5 acres in Murrysville adjacent to Duff Park (a property formerly known as the Norbitrol Plan of Lots), and
  • 49 acres in Murrysville adjacent to Duff Park and accessible from Round Top Road.

“Preserving more than 200 acres in our first five years of existence is a significant accomplishment,” said Charles Duritsa, chair of the organization that was formed in 2007 to preserve land of special value in Westmoreland County.

The Westmoreland Land Trust is an independent, nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that seeks to preserve a wide variety of types of land, including:

  • land that offers scenic vistas,
  • tracts that help to create larger greenway corridors through Westmoreland County,
  • land that has ecological, historical, or cultural value, and
  • sensitive areas that are under pressure for development.

More information about the Westmoreland Land Trust may be found at http://westmoreland-landtrust.org/.