ClearWater Conservancy finalized an agreement to permanently conserve a 9.85-acre property in the Spruce Creek Watershed. The property was originally the home of the Ironmaster for Colerain Forges, known to be the oldest ironmaster’s mansion in the watershed, and contains a significant stretch of Warriors Mark Run just upstream from the confluence with Spruce Creek. The Colerain Forges Mansion is a regionally and nationally significant historic site in the Spruce Creek Valley. The property is owned by the Colerain Center for Education, Preservation and the Arts, a 501(c)(3) formed in 2019. The landowners sought a conservation easement on the property to highlight and preserve the historic and environmental attributes of the site. Michele Gray Rosenblum, who helped to form the nonprofit along with her mother, Dorothy Gray Guerney, is thrilled with the easement that was coordinated with ClearWater Conservancy. It ensures that regardless of what the future holds, this important historic and environmental resource will be preserved and protected. The Colerain Mansion property is located within one of ClearWater’s strategic areas, the Scotia Barrens to Ridgelines Initiative, and the nonprofit’s mission to share the history and environment of the site with the public fits with ClearWater’s mission.
In July, the 300-yard stretch of Warriors Mark Run on the property underwent restoration to stabilize banks to prevent erosion, remove invasive plant species, and add rock dams and other structures that provide trout with shelter and increased oxygen flow. Funded by an $809,256 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program, the restoration work was completed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife with support from Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. ClearWater Conservancy will assist Colerain Center with native riparian plantings in coming years, supported by a grant from Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as a part of the conservation easement plan.
As with all ClearWater easements, the conservation plan was customized to the landowners’ priorities and the landscape. The highest level of protection is reserved for the stream and streamside forest buffer. Minimal protection is in place around the buildings to allow for flexibility in operating the nonprofit cultural center. The remaining acres are placed under standard protection. “This comprehensive conservation project is the result of years of hard work and multiple organizations partnering with enthusiastic landowners to ensure this will always be a special place to appreciate art, history and our natural environment,” said Ryan Hamilton, ClearWater’s Land Conservation Manager.
The Colerain Center’s mission is centered on three aspects: preserving and maintaining the historic Colerain Forges Mansion and associated historic and environmental resources on the estate, providing educational opportunities and experiences about these historic and environmental resources to schools, researchers, and the community, and reviving the tradition of supporting and promoting the arts at the mansion by sponsoring artists and hosting performances. For more information about the Colerain Center, including upcoming events, visit coleraincenter.org.
Post adapted from a release and photos shared by ClearWater Conservancy.