The enormity of the acquisition can't be understated, said William Capouillez, who directs the Game Commission's Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management.
It's one of the biggest purchases in decades, and links one of the biggest game lands in the Commonwealth to the Allegheny National Forest - one of the largest forested public resources in the state.
With the acquisition, a huge contiguous block of protected habitat has been created, Capouillez
But the deal does more than that, he
The deal calls for payment to The Conservation Fund to be made either in one lump sum, or in not more than six annual installment payments.
Under the agreement, the Game Commission
may make the payments in cash, or transfer to The Conservation Fund timber revenue the commission generates on other state game lands tracts.
Being able to provide the value from timber is an important part of the deal, Capouillez
It will encourage greater timber harvest in other parts of the state, and the result will be the creation of more early-successional habitat, a component that is severely lacking throughout the state, he
"This is a commitment by the agency to increase our timber harvest and habitat creation on game lands through a partnership with The Conservation Fund," Capouillez
Again, the scale of the acquisition is notable, Capouillez
It's yet another addition to State Game Lands 87, which now tops 15,000 acres but just a few years ago was an 1,100-acre tract.
Also, the acquisition creates a contiguous block westward to State Game Lands 195.
"How often can you say you've connected two game lands?
said the purchases approved Tuesday, when added to other lands newly approved to be acquired through other methods total nearly 18,000 acres, or 30 square miles.
The acquisitions also represent an opportunity to create more early-successional forestland statewide, Capouillez
William Capouillez, the director of the Game Commission's Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, on Tuesday announced the commission purchased properties at auction in 2013 that will be added to the state game lands system.