The Brandywine Conservancy has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to be used towards the acquisition of a 569-acre natural area along the Octoraro Creek in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham Townships, Chester County. This area is a portion of the 952-acre Glenroy Farm property that spans Chester and Lancaster Counties. The Conservancy’s ultimate goal is to work with the landowner to permanently protect the entire property through purchase and agricultural easements. The $1.5 million from DCNR will be used to match an already approved $3 million multi-year grant from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program.
Eventually the 569-acre natural area will be transferred to and managed by the Oxford Area Foundation (OAF). OAF will manage it as a passive preserve with five miles of trails mostly along the Octoraro Creek. “When completed, this project will help create 6,739 acres of contiguous preserved lands in the Octoraro watershed,” said Ellen Ferretti, director of the Brandywine Conservancy. “This exceptional land, which is predominately forested, will not only offer 2.1 miles of protected frontage along the Octoraro Creek—a tributary of the Susquehanna River—and vital habitat to woodland flora and fauna, but will also provide public recreational opportunities in a magnificent setting for the community. We are grateful to all of our partners and to the property owners whose goal was to find a way to keep the land as it is today, forever.”
“Southern Chester County is home to some of the last bastions of agricultural and rural open space in the region,” commented Pennsylvania state senator Andy Dinniman. “It is crucial that we successfully seize opportunities, like this one, to preserve our open spaces and beautiful places for perpetuity. Public–private partnerships have been essential to our efforts and I am thankful for the ongoing work of the Brandywine Conservancy in protecting and conserving our natural treasures for generations to come.”
The Brandywine Conservancy also assisted the landowner in applying for and securing agricultural preservation funding to preserve the 220 acres of farmland on the property. “We are always pleased to see farms of this caliber enter our program,” said Geoff Shellington, interim director of the Chester County Open Space Preservation Program.
The Brandywine Conservancy is seeking additional funds to meet the acquisition price with a desired completion by 2021 for the remaining lands in Chester County and an additional 156 acres of farmland along the Octoraro Creek in Lancaster County.