Blue Mountain and Kittatinny Ridge are names for a long mountain ridge that crosses Pennsylvania, almost to the Maryland state line. It crosses 11 counties, where it is known locally in eastern PA as Kittatinny Mountain, in central PA as Blue or North Mountain, and in Franklin County as Front Mountain. The Ridge is one of Pennsylvania’s most prominent natural features. In Berks, the Ridge comprises the entire northwestern border of the county including Bethel, Upper Tulpehocken, Upper Bern, Tilden, Windsor, and Albany Townships. Traveling north and west from the more populous urban and suburban regions of southeast Pennsylvania, the first major landform encountered is the Kittatinny Ridge. Nearly 326,000 people live in the numerous boroughs and townships along the Ridge; and another 1.5 million people live within 20 miles of the Ridge and see it regularly as a part of their landscape. A growing number of Pennsylvanians depend on the natural resources of the Ridge for their business, their recreation, their drinking water, or their home. Millions of Pennsylvanians and hundreds of communities value the Ridge for scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, water supplies, and wildlife habitat. The Ridge has national importance as a critical habitat link in the world famous Appalachian Trail. The Kittatinny Ridge is recognized as a “globally significant” migration flyway in spring and fall for thousands of hawks and eagles and millions of songbirds; and has been officially designated by Audubon as the state’s largest “Important Bird Area (IBA).” The Ridge is where we hike, watch soaring hawks, ride bicycles, hunt deer, fish for trout, and enjoy beautiful fall colors. It is the background of virtually every vista in the region, enhancing the attractiveness of our communities for residents and businesses. And for many, it is where we live, work, and raise our children.
Kittatinny Ridge provides the headwaters for many of the streams in southcentral and southeast Pennsylvania, protecting drinking water and providing clean fresh-water habitat for fish. In Berks, we depend on the Ridge as the origin of Pine, Furnace, and Northkill Creeks – and the Schuylkill River travels through the Ridge early on its journey from Pottsville to Philadelphia. In short, the Kittatinny Ridge is a valuable natural resource that defines our region and enhances our quality of life. Berks Nature defines our Kittatinny Ridge focus area as the region north of I-78 in the above-mentioned municipalities. Through our Municipal Outreach Program, it is a goal of Berks Nature to promote conservation programs in this region of Berks to address water quality, recreation, ecology, and heritage resources.