LOOKING FOR A SPOT TO HOLD A CLASS OR WORKSHOP?
The Conservation District’s classroom can hold up to 49 people, is equipped with a screen, and can be rented daily between the hours of 9:00AM to 10:00PM.
The Environmental Center is located five minutes from Interstate 376. Take Hopewell Exit #48 to Route 151 West and turn to go down the hill for three miles. Follow the signs at Cowpath Road (which starts next to AmeriGas) to the Beaver County Conservation District.
ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER
The Beaver County Conservation District owns approximately 80 acres along Raccoon Creek and Route 151 in Independence Township. Nearly 40% of this site consists of the mitigated wetlands for the Pittsburgh International Airport. This means that the wetlands on the site were constructed to replace existing wetlands which the Allegheny County Airport Authority drained in order to expand the Pittsburgh Airport. Wetland mitigation is required by federal and state laws when a wetland is destroyed, usually at a 2:1 ratio for ordinary wetlands or a 3:1 ratio for higher-quality wetlands.
In March of 1990, the acting Board of Beaver County Commissioners agreed to allow the Allegheny County Airport Authority to put the mitigated wetlands on a 78-acre bankrupt farm (formerly the Maslek Farm). This was to be fair trade for the new jobs which the airport expansion would generate for Beaver County residents. The mitigated wetlands were designed by Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. and built by Graziani Construction Company, which completed the work in March 1993.
The Conservation District property has a mile-long loop trail that encompasses both the upper wetland and lower wetland which are connected by a channel. The upper wetland on the west side of the site is fed by a manmade channel branching off of an unnamed tributary of Raccoon Creek, and the lower wetland to the east drains out into Raccoon Creek itself. Additional trails run through woods and meadow.
The property is open to the public daily from dawn until dusk, and the building housing the classroom and District offices is open 8:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday through Friday. The trails are frequently used by hikers, dog walkers, birders, photographers, and horseback riders. As some of our trails run through the wetlands, expect to encounter mud and sometimes water along your hike. Benches and viewing points offer great opportunities to watch waterfowl, herons, and other birds, reptiles & amphibians, and mammals both large and small. Migration seasons in April, May, September, and October offer additional wildlife watching experiences.