Natural Lands Trust Achieves Milestone in Efforts to Preserve 1,505 Northern Chester County Acres
Natural Lands Trust announced today a major milestone in the non-profit land conservation organization’s effort to preserve 1,505 acres in northern Chester County known as Bryn Coed Farms.
On September 28, 2016, Natural Lands Trust and the current property owners, the Dietrich family, executed an Agreement of Sale for the property. Natural Lands Trust now has six months to conduct due diligence, including Phase II environmental testing.
The fate of the property has been the subject of much speculation over the years as development pressures have increased in the region.
Located primarily in West Vincent Township, Chester County, with portions also in East and West Pikeland Townships, the property is one of the largest remaining undeveloped, unprotected tracts of land in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Under current zoning, nearly 700 homes could be built on the property if it is not placed under protection.
Natural Lands Trust has been working with the Dietrichs for more than five years to conserve the land. Natural Lands Trust is the region’s largest land conservation organization and is dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
Since its founding in 1953, Natural Lands Trust has preserved more than 100,000 acres, including 43 nature preserves totaling nearly 22,000 acres.
“It is too early to celebrate, but we are optimistic that much of this iconic property can be conserved,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “It’s a complex deal with many moving parts, but Bryn Coed is certainly worth fighting to save. It’s a community and ecological treasure.”
If successful, the deal would result in a 400-plus-acre nature preserve with eight miles of hiking trails that will be owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust.
The preserve will be open to visitors, free of charge, just like other nature preserves owned by the regional conservation group—including the 112-acre Binky Lee Preserve in nearby Chester Springs.
In addition, West Vincent Township is considering Natural Lands Trust’s offer to establish a 72-acre municipal park on the property.
The remainder of the property would be divided into large conservation properties, preserved by conservation easements, and sold to private individuals.
“The amount of land that can be permanently protected as a Natural Lands Trust preserve is dependent on the amount of funding we can raise. The cost of preserving the entirety of such a vast and valuable property is beyond the currently available resources. We will be seeking support from the public in the weeks and months ahead,” Morrison added.
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