Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Donate a Conservation Easement on 32 acres in Fayette County

Jan 27, 2016 | 2 comments

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth announced the donation of a conservation easement to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) on 32 acres of its property in Dunbar Township, Fayette County.

With this donation, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth has ensured that the type of development that can take place on the property will be permanently limited to protect wildlife habitat and water quality. The property has been used by the organization for retreats and recreation for more than 60 years.

The property is located in the Dunbar Creek watershed – part of the Youghiogheny River system – which is an area of focus for WPC as a priority watershed within the Laurel Highlands. The creek is popular with anglers and has native brook trout located within its headwaters. The property will protect 900 feet of frontage along Tucker Run and associated tributaries, and is surrounded by Pennsylvania State Game Lands #51. This 17,000-acre game land includes rugged mountain terrain on the ridges between Dunbar and Chalk Hill and important sections of forest and natural areas protecting rare plants and animals.

The property is also located within Pennsylvania Audubon Society’s Youghiogheny Valley/Ohiopyle State Park Important Bird Area (IBA). This IBA provides important wildlife habitat for a wide variety of birds, including species dependent on habitats within forests and near waterways, and for species that breed in North America but migrate to tropical regions.


“We have a deep connection to this land, as it has been an important part of who we are as women of faith,” said Corrine Giel, a sister with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. “We have spent many hours praying on, taking care of and being as close as possible to nature on our land. So, we know this is a profound decision to protect this land forever so that all of God’s creatures can continue to enjoy it, too.”

Conservation easements are voluntary, permanent deed-restriction agreements tailored to meet specific landowner needs and conservation goals. They limit certain types of development and help land stay natural in perpetuity even if it is sold. Every year, thousands of acres are protected with donations of conservation easements to land trusts in Pennsylvania by landowners who love their land and wish to protect it.

They can often obtain charitable income tax deductions and other tax benefits. Recently, the federal government made enhanced income tax benefits a permanent part of the internal revenue code.

“We greatly appreciate the donation of a conservation easement on this beautiful Laurel Highlands property by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth,” said Thomas D. Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “We worked in close partnership with them so that they could protect the land they love, and have the peace of mind that this wonderful property will be protected forever.”