Natural Lands has purchased and transferred a 57-acre property to Marsh Creek State Park.
Located in Wallace Township, the land was slated to be developed. Now, as part of the State Park, it will be open to the public for hiking, birdwatching, horseback riding, and other passive recreation uses.
The forested property adjoins the 1,727-acre Marsh Creek State Park, used by more than one million visitors every year.
The downturn in the housing market a decade ago put a hold on the developer’s plans to create a large-scale resort community with residences, hotel space, and a golf course. Natural Lands approached the landowner when foreclosure seemed likely and offered to purchase the property for the appraised value.
After several years of planning and gathering the needed public funding, Natural Lands purchased the property at the close of 2018.
“Seventy-one percent of Pennsylvania’s forests are privately owned, leaving them at risk for development,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands. “Saving these 57 acres simply could not have happened without all of us – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chester County, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Turnpike Commission, Wallace Township, and Natural Lands – working together.
“I’m certain it would have been developed. Now, it will be preserved and enjoyed by everyone.”
“This is the year that we are planning to reach a goal of 30 percent preserved open space in Chester County,” said Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone, and Terence Farrell. “Projects like this that expand beautiful areas already enjoyed by residents and visitors illustrate the thoughtful, planned approach that we take to preserving land.
“For 30 years, Chester County has been following that plan, which is why our preservation efforts are smart; why they encourage partnerships with conservancies, municipalities, and other organizations; and why the county is recognized as a great place to live, work, retire, and visit.”