The site known as Waggoner’s Gap occupies a stunning outlook in the remote heart of the Kittatinny Ridge in central Pennsylvania. The steep rocky outcrop on ~138 acres owned by National Audubon Society and managed by Audubon Pennsylvania provides wide views of the landscape to the north and south together with an open view of the sky. It is one of the most ecologically important hawk counting sites in North America. More than 2,000 visitors enjoy this vista near Carlisle, PA for birding, hiking, and picnicking throughout the year but especially in the fall when tens of thousands of raptors and vultures and millions of songbirds migrate overhead. However, the intensity of this current use threatens to overwhelm the capacity of Audubon PA to operate and maintain it effectively. With this challenge in mind, they were looking to transform the site into a financially self-sustaining asset that would continue the important scientific and educational programs, provide security and maintenance of the site, and support regional conservation goals.
In the summer and fall of 2020, Audubon PA contracted with Conservation Economics Conservation Economics to research the organizational and financial opportunities for Waggoner’s Gap. Conservation Economics specializes in identifying, planning and implementing uses for properties that can meet the owner’s financial goals while supporting natural, cultural and community values. For this project, the company looked at not only the physical features of Waggoner’s Gap but also the social and economic value of the site.
In summary, the time might be right for addressing the future of Waggoner’s Gap as part of a larger, regional view of conservation. In this light, the best next step would be to promote cooperation and collaboration among like-minded individuals, organizations and agencies already expressing an interest in a sustainable future for Waggoner’s Gap.
For further information on a way to identify the assets and strategic options and make informed decisions about your property, contact:
Conservation Economics http://www.conservationeconomics.com/ or 484.318.1129.