HARRISBURG (November 19, 2019) – – Five land conservation projects in Chester County, including one that will ultimately lead to the creation of one of the largest areas of preserved land in the Mid-Atlantic region, received $2.7 million in state funding, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.

“Our preserved land and open space are not just part of where we live, they’re part of who we are in Chester County,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said. “These investments can go a long way in helping build on our success of conserving our natural spaces and providing parks and other outdoor recreational opportunities for residents, visitors, and families.”

The projects, which are funded through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2), are as follows:

  • $350,000 for the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art for acquisition of approximately 569 acres in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham for open space protection. 

 

  • $540,537 for East Whiteland Township for acquisition of approximately 154 acres in East Whiteland and Charlestown for a new township park.  

 

  • $41,900 for the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 47 acres in East Nantmeal for connection to a network of existing preserved land. 

 

  • $300,000, Natural Lands Trust for acquisition of approximately 83 acres in Warwick for an addition to the Crow’s Nest Preserve. 

 

  • $1,500,000 for the Conservation Fund for the acquisition of approximately 982 acres along Springlawn Road in Elk, Franklin, and New London townships, Chester County for an addition to the White Clay Creek Preserve and open space protection.

Dinniman played a key role in securing the $1.5 million in funding – funding which proved critical in supporting the second half of a two-phase plan being led by The Conservation Fund (TCF) to acquire and permanently protect 1,718 acres owned by George Strawbridge, Jr. by adding them to the White Clay Creek Preserve.

Combined, the Strawbridge property and Maryland’s Fairhill Natural Resources Management Area (FNRMA), will result in a block of open, recreation space in excess of 7,000 acres – one of the largest in existence between Washington, D.C. and New York City. 

Probably the single largest privately-owned tract in Chester County, the Strawbridge property represents a critical resource in a rapidly developing area in southeastern Pennsylvania and the tri-state region. Nearly 700 separate plant species have been identified on the property, 15 of which are endangered, rare, threatened or vulnerable in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  In addition, the Strawbridge property supports 3.5 miles of the Big Elk Creek – a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay.

“There are very few properties of this size left untouched in our region, which is all the more reason why we needed to protect and preserve it,” Dinniman said. “Visiting this area and the White Clay Creek Preserve is like taking a step back in time and with this important grant support I am proud to say that it will stay that way in perpetuity.”

C2P2 provides financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, land trusts, and other nonprofits for the planning, acquisition, and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

Funding for C2P2 comes through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation, the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.