SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Everything you see at the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Delaware Water Gap -- the land, the trees, even the butterflies -- is now protected.
Officials from several government agencies celebrated a project that now preserves 4,350 acres of wildlife habitat.
"By protecting this area, we are conserving habitat. Not just for wildlife but for people, for people to enjoy and recreate. We are also protecting clean water. It's so important for the valley and it really is going to be a benefit for generations to come," said Sharon Marino, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The refuse is owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This conservation effort also secured more than five miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The space is a popular spot for not only locals but tourists, too.
"This is a critical piece for the local Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge for the habitat for things like the endangered bog turtle, for local water quality, and also for public access for hiking, fishing, and recreating the outdoors," said Kyle Shenk, Conservation Fund State Director.
Cindy Adams Dunn is the secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. She says this is a great achievement for everyone involved.
"For us at DCNR, it really helps us meet our conservation mission. It also helps with our recreation mission." Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR Secretary.
The final phase was made possible through funding from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Smithfield Township secured its first acre in 2008 and it's been growing ever since.