With assistance from Springfield Township and the Bucks County’s Natural Areas Program, Heritage Conservancy acquired 40 acres of woodlands in Springfield Township, Bucks County. The acquisition of the Jerry Pursell Nature Preserve, which is located along Slifer Valley Road, not only protects critical ecological resources in the Cooks Creek watershed, but creates a 100-acre publicly accessible nature preserve in the heart of Springfield Township.

Heritage Conservancy is thrilled to open the largest public nature preserve in Springfield Township to benefit the community and future generations. As the owner of the property, Heritage Conservancy will be responsible for its ongoing stewardship to ensure that the sensitive natural resources are properly managed and that the property and its series of trails are maintained in a safe condition for the public to enjoy.

The Jerry Pursell Nature Preserve contains fully forested land with flowing tributaries leading to Cooks Creek, and it extends to the Conservancy’s 60-acre Fuller Preserve. These two properties are part of a larger contiguous area of 1,500 acres of preserved land.

“Tall trees, wildflowers, and the song of birds call. We are excited to bring visitors closer to the unique natural setting of Cooks Creek,” said Jeff Marshall, president of Heritage Conservancy. “By adding to an already important tract of open space, we are working with the community to make experiencing nature an even more worthwhile and enjoyable activity.”

The two adjoining preserves are located in Heritage Conservancy’s Cooks Creek Lasting Landscape. Cooks Creek has been designated as an exceptional value stream by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and is the only viable cold-water fishery in Bucks County that supports a naturally reproducing trout population. Trout only thrive in some of the most pristine conditions, and protecting land in the Cooks Creek Lasting Landscape helps to keep the creek healthy.

Doris Pursell

In honor of her late husband Jerry, Doris Pursell sold this 40-acre property to Heritage Conservancy at a bargain price, accepting a great deal less than what the property was worth because its preservation was so important to her. For nearly 35 years, she and Jerry spent much of their time together hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter while enjoying the woodlands and wildlife. Doris wanted to ensure that this special place would be protected forever.

“I love Bucks County and the people in this community. It thrills me to know that the property that brought us such joy will be protected and taken care of by Heritage Conservancy and that it will continue to be enjoyed by the public,” says Doris.

Along with the bargain-sale donation, funding from Bucks County’s Natural Areas Program, Springfield Township, Art of Preservation, and private donations from community members made this acquisition possible. As a condition of funding, Springfield Township and Bucks County will co-hold a conservation easement on the property.

The Conservancy is set to have a grand unveiling for the newly acquired preserve in September. Stay tuned for more information.