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Proposed Transfer of Property at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview to Penn State

Representative Mike Hanna has introduced a bill, HB 1785, that proposes to transfer approximately 1,850 acres of land at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, of which Penn State will purchase 1,124 acres of agricultural and forest lands from the Commonwealth to be managed by the College of Agricultural Sciences. Benner Township will receive 400 acres, which includes the Spring Creek Canyon tract, and the Fish and Boat Commission will receive the land it currently leases. A detailed map of the parcels can be found on the ClearWater Conservancy Web site.

This bill requires clearly-stated, comprehensive conservation objectives that have been developed through an extensive public/community planning process and are documented in a Master Plan. The bill provides that the Master Plan be implemented with the oversight of a public/community Land Management Partnership committee. The bill requires legally binding conservation easements on the property to guarantee appropriate uses in perpetuity. The bill provides for the easements to be overseen by a local land trust – Clearwater Conservancy – and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, both of whom participated in the planning process, along with the potential land owners, and the community at large.

This proposed transfer of Rockview land is a unique opportunity for Penn State and the local community, as well as an important statewide issue. Making the now inaccessible land available for agricultural research and as living laboratories and classrooms stands to benefit not only Penn State students but all state residents. Transferring the land to Penn State, the local township, and the commission will also foster new recreational uses of the land for area residents and visitors alike.

To learn more, read this essay Our Vision for the Rockview Land outlining our vision for this land, and follow the other links on this page. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at mfw10@psu.edu.