Deed Donated to LWA
Inside the Outdoors, January 20,
2017

I was skimming over the latest issue of the Pennsylvania Outdoors News, January 6, edition, when I noticed an article written by Deborah Weisberg titled, Loyalhanna Creek land in headwaters gets protection.

It was disclosed recently that a deed comprised of over twenty four wood acres in the headwaters of Loyalhanna Creek, once owned by Todd and Molly Simonds and Henry and Nancy Armstrong, has been turned over to a Westmoreland County conservation group to ensure that a designated tract of land in Cook Township will remain protected and undeveloped for an indefinite amount of time.

The property, purchased by the couples ten years ago, is located in the Stahlstown area; within the boundaries are their residences.

Both couples, members of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association (LWA), decided to touch base with association project manager John Penatzer who welcomed the idea.

“Although a conservation easement has existed on the land, since the 1980’s, residential development may have been possible,” he said. According to Weisberg, he went on to state, “Donating the property to us will preserve about 1000 feet of the stream’s headwaters, which are pristine. The landowners wanted to keep it that way and prevent anything negative from occurring that would impact the water downstream.”

In as much as this land is now protected by the LWA, the question was raised to its Executive Director Susa Huba, as to the possibilities of one fishing in this part of the creek. She said, “One can fish in these waters as long as he walks in to where he desires to go. The only restriction is that one can not park anywhere he wants.”

Pinpointing this property where the water runs through it, one can find this plot of land by traveling along State Route 711 South from Ligonier. Look for Hauger-Hood Road. Then locate the signs for the Loyalhanna Veterinary Clinic. The property will be in the vicinity.

Huba stated as of now there are no signs posted just where this property may be located. On the other hand, she said that one can walk in or through all LWA property to hike or fish, but not hunt. All hunting is done by permission only on the farm where its offices are located on the western outskirts of Ligonier (6 Old Lincoln Highway W. within the confines of 123 acres.)

The LWA’s mission is to protect, conserve and restore. It began in 1971 and is in its forty-sixth year of environmental excellence.

For those who may be curious, the Loyalhanna Creek rises from the Loyal Ridge in southern Westmoreland County, north of Donegal and flows along the southeastern side of Chestnut Ridge. Approximately five miles northwest of Ligonier it turns northwest, cutting through Chestnut Ridge and passing through Latrobe.

Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited (FTTU) was founded in 1973, bringing cold-water conservation to Westmoreland County. It has been involved with stream restoration since the early 1970’s after a highway by-pass construction project and Hurricane Agnes devastated Loyalhanna Creek.

In the early 80’s, FTTU, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the LWA began an aggressive stream improvement project on the Delayed Harvest and Lures Only Section of Loyalhanna Creek. Over the span of two decades the chapter constructed fifteen fish habitat devices, stabilized over three hundred yards of stream bank and positioned six hundred tons of stone.

From beginning as a trickle to widening to river proportions, this body of water has chapters of history written about it not only in the Ligonier area, but downstream beyond the Causeway, at Kingston Dam and Shelving Rocks.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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