Camp Small Valley—a major project comes together
Powell’s Valley is a beautiful, bucolic valley, bolstered by Peter’s Mountain on the south and Broad Mountain on the north, a triangle that opens toward the Susquehanna River. A smaller valley near the east end of Powell’s Valley, aptly named Small Valley, is almost wholly owned by the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, and is operated as a Camp for outdoor learning and education. We believe it to be one of the largest remaining privately owned holdings in the County, and its conservation value is exceptional.
We are most grateful to the Keystone Fund of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the major grant that was the cornerstone of our funding, but before we received that, we had to come up with more than half of the remaining easement value. Many generous partners and friends helped to build this funding foundation.
We were extremely fortunate to have found the willing partnership of the Girl Scout Council. Our missions merge—theirs, building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place, and ours, a land trust dedicated to the preservation of Dauphin County and the promotion of environmental education. Preserving under conservation easement helps to fulfill our mission, and the money generated from our purchase of the easement helped the Girl Scouts to enhance the Camp facilities and bring more girls into nature and offer them a better and safer experience. It also assures that the Camp will always be intact for this type of use.
The 762-acre property is bordered on the north by the Haldeman Tract of the Weiser State Forest, and on the east by Manada Conservancy-protected Koerber Woodlands and Smith property. Nearby are State Gamelands, which are contiguous with the State Forest. It comprises a huge unbroken woodland, with low-impact outdoor education activity facilities on one portion. With wetlands, vernal ponds, the headwaters of two major streams, nesting habitat for songbirds, endangered mammal habitat, and interesting plant species, like flame azaleas and other wildflowers, it is a treasure trove of natural resources. It is within not only the designated Globally Important Kittatinny migration corridor, but is also within the designated viewing area for the National Appalachian Scenic Trail. It also hosts one of the most important owl-banding stations in the East. The conservation easement also allows over 300 acres to now be open to the public for passive recreation.
Partners are recognized on the beautiful sign that was erected after the project was complete. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania in the protection and enjoyment of this exceptional property.