Natural Lands announced the permanent protection of a 10-acre property in Warwick Township, Chester County. The Brown-Shire property has been a preservation priority for the township for its proximity to other protected lands, high-quality forest, and scenic views. The land was preserved through a conservation easement.
“The valley our property overlooks has a nickname given by the locals: ‘Magic Valley.’ Unspoiled and beautiful,” said owner Ellen Shire. “Ever since we owned this land in Magic Valley, we have been fortunate to have surrounding neighbors feel the same about its protection.”
Added co-owner Garrett Brown, “From the moment we bought the property, we knew we wanted to put it into an easement to keep it unspoiled for future generations.”
The Brown-Shire property includes a section of forest dominated by tuliptree and American beech, along with meadow and agricultural fields. It’s located within the Hopewell Big Woods, which is the last large, unbroken forest in southeastern Pennsylvania. Because this land hasn’t been fragmented by development, it offers essential habitat for myriad insects, plants, and animals that rely on connected forest canopy. The Brown-Shire property also protects the water quality of South Branch French Creek. It filters out chemicals and sediment and slows stormwater as it recharges the groundwater supplies.
“The conservation easement will ensure the perpetual protection of this scenic property, which is considered a ‘supporting landscape’ for 12 different Pennsylvania Natural Heritage areas,” said Robyn Jeney, land protection project manager for Natural Lands. “Some of the areas include Hopewell Lake, which is home to the northern long-eared bat, a critically imperiled species, and Great Marsh, which supports the rare Black Dash and Mulberry Wing butterflies.”
The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program gathers and tracks ecological information about rare plants and animals, significant habitats and geologic features, and significant habitats in the Commonwealth. This information is used to prioritize conservation and restoration goals across the state.
In addition to the ecological value of the property, the Brown-Shire land offers picturesque views for travelers along County Park Road. Forested or tree-lined roadways have the documented effect of encouraging drivers to slow down, an added safety benefit of this scenic country drive.
“On behalf of all Warwick Township residents, we would like to thank Natural Lands, Ellen Shire, and Garrett Brown for preserving an additional 10 acres of high-quality woodlands in an environmentally sensitive area,” said Eileen Cameron, Warwick Township Board of Supervisors chairperson. “We know the residents of Warwick support preserving the character of the Township through these easements. Their conservation efforts enhance the beautiful rural qualities of our township.”
Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said, “Chester County is pleased to have contributed to the protection of the Brown-Shire property and we thank Ellen Shire and Garrett Brown for their personal commitment. Preserving these 10 acres, and especially the woodlands within them, not only keeps this area unspoiled, but also helps to mitigate the impact of climate change, supporting the goals of Chester County’s Climate Action Plan.”
The conservation of the Brown-Shire property was made possible through support from Chester County, the Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation, and Warwick Township.
Natural Lands is dedicated to preserving and nurturing nature’s wonders while creating opportunities for joy and discovery in the outdoors for everyone. As the Greater Philadelphia region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization, Natural Lands—which is member supported—has preserved more than 125,000 acres, including 42 nature preserves and one public garden totaling more than 23,000 acres. Nearly five million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. Land for life, nature for all. natlands.org.