A 120-acre tract of woodlands and rolling meadows in the headwaters of Glade Run Lake in southern Butler County has been permanently conserved as a result of a collaborative effort between Allegheny Land Trust (ALT), the Glade Run Lake Conservancy (GRLC) and longtime Middlesex Township landowner Joan Goswell.
The land will be preserved through a conservation easement donated by Goswell to be held and monitored in perpetuity by ALT. ALT and GRLC said this effort was the first of what they hope will be many land conservation accomplishments in the watershed.
“We are extremely excited to be working with the Glade Run Lake Conservancy and the local community to protect the land around this unique lake in this rapidly developing area,” said Chris Beichner, President & CEO of ALT. “Conserving this land preserves the rural character and scenic beauty of the community and is essential to ensuring that the excellent water quality of the lake is maintained forever.”
GRLC was originally formed to ensure that the lake would be restored after it was drained in 2011 due to its unsafe earthen dam. Now that the dam has been rebuilt, GRLC is focused on the threat that encroaching suburban sprawl has on water quality.
“Protecting land in the lake’s immediate watershed is the only way to keep the water clean and the habitat safe and productive for animals, birds and fish,” said Siggy Pehel, President of the GRLC. “Our members live in the community and know the lake intimately, but we don’t have the necessary knowledge, expertise and capacity in land conservation, so we were pleased to find a willing partner in Allegheny Land Trust to help us protect Glade Run Lake.”
The two organizations have identified and prioritized the most sensitive lands in the watershed and have created a plan to collaboratively pursue the conservation of those lands through a variety of conservation tools including conservation easements like the one on Goswell’s property. Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and the easement holder that permanently limit future development of the land while permitting the landowner to retain ownership and usage rights as specified in the easement.
In this case, Goswell will continue to own, live on and enjoy her property as she has for much of her life, while knowing that her beloved land will be preserved in its natural state as woodlands and meadows forever.
“It is very satisfying to know that my land will contribute to the health of our lake and to the rural character of our community long after I am gone,” said Goswell. “I hope my conservation easement will encourage others to conserve their lands too. If we let our land be gobbled up by housing developments, then it will all be gone forever – and our lake and our community could never be the same.”