On December 14, 2020, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust announced that they have preserved forever 54 acres along St. Matthews Road in West Vincent Township, northern Chester County, through a conservation easement on property owned by 18 Years, LLC, established by township residents Paul and Cynthia Black and Bob and Shelley Casciato. 18 Years is so named because it took that long for the couples to acquire the land from real estate developers that planned to build 20 houses on the property.

The property is adjacent to the recently French & Pickering conserved 100-acre 16 Years, LLC, and 1,100-acre Natural Lands conserved Bryn Coed Landscape and Preserve, and provides a trail connection to it. Some of 18 Years is farmed, with the remainder in woodlands, and is part of the Birchrun watershed, which empties into the High-Quality Pickering Creek.

The easement was funded by grants from Chester County Parks and Preservation, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, West Vincent Township Open Space funds and the Open Space Institute through the William Penn Foundation.

According to French & Pickering Conservation Director Pam Brown, “we are thrilled to accept the easement because 18 Years preserves farmland, streams, woods, trails and views, and helps protect an expanse of open space that improves the quality of water for our region.”

Open Space Institute Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator Bill Rawlyk commented, “By permanently protecting both drinking water and ensuring the continued economic opportunity for farmers to use the land, the 18 Years property is truly a success in every sense of the word.”