Photo credit: Andrew Gilchrist

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary Joe Adams joined Natural Lands staff and local and state officials to celebrate the successful conservation of Bryn Coed Farms in Chester Springs, Chester County.

“The Wolf Administration is proud to join Natural Lands today to celebrate the conservation of Bryn Coed,” Walsh said. “This is truly a great example of the importance of working together to preserve our natural spaces for public good. We look forward to seeing the benefits of this preserve for generations, in both outdoor recreation and critical environmental impacts.”

The Wolf Administration has awarded more than $3 million in grant funding toward the conservation of Bryn Coed Farms and expanding recreation opportunities on the property since it was acquired by Natural Lands in 2017. The 1,505-acre mosaic of forest and farmland known as Bryn Coed, which means “wooded hill” in Welsh, was saved from becoming a housing development and is now protected by a combination of conservation easements, a township park and the 520-acre publicly accessible Bryn Coed Preserve.

Grants provided by the commonwealth have funded land acquisition, trail installation, ADA accessibility improvements, pavilion construction, bridges, boardwalks, parking lots, and other important project needs. Additionally, Natural Lands, in partnership with DCNR and DEP, began a nearly $1 million project to restore the headwaters of Pickering Creek, of which 17 percent of all the water flowing into the creek originates at Bryn Coed. The creek is a tributary of the Delaware River, the source of drinking water for 15 million people within the region.

“This project was made possible in part thanks to DEP’s Growing Greener program, which remains the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania’s history towards addressing critical environmental concerns,” said DEP Deputy Secretary Joe Adams. “Partners like DCNR and Natural Lands convert grant dollars into tangible outcomes, such as restored headwaters and preserved forests, that every Pennsylvanian can enjoy. Bryn Coed Preserve is a model for what public-private partnerships can accomplish.”

As a part of the Pickering Creek Headwaters Restoration, Natural Lands is working to convert farm fields to woodlands with the goal of creating a 100-foot forested buffer along all streams within Bryn Coed Preserve. Other objectives include removing a man-made pond and culvert to restore natural streams and surrounding wetlands and reducing impervious surfaces and replace them with native grassland meadows.

“Preserving Bryn Coed Farms was the chance of a lifetime. We went out on a limb on this project, and it was so worth it,” Natural Lands President Oliver Bass said. “The work being done to restore the land and steward it will benefit everyone living downstream for generations. None of this would have been possible without support from our partners. We are tremendously grateful to DEP and DCNR.”

Officials toured a 64-acre site where 12,500 seedlings were planted along 3.5 miles of stream edge. These trees will help stabilize the stream bank and help reduce erosion, while also helping improve water quality by filtering out pollutants.