Natural Lands announced the permanent protection of a vulnerable section of East Branch Brandywine Creek. The acquisition and immediate transfer of the 12-acre property to East Brandywine Township ensures access to the creek for recreation and protects the scenic view along route 282 in Downingtown, Chester County.

“While it may seem like a small property, its conservation is quite significant,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands, the region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization. “This stretch of East Branch Brandywine Creek has been a conservation priority in every Chester County Comprehensive Plan for at least the last four decades. The successful outcome of this project
represents years of work to line up all the partners, funders, and details.”

The 12-acre parcel, known as the Shryock property, includes both sides of the Creek for about a half mile and is immediately adjacent to property already owned by East Brandywine Township. Just beyond is the 1,784-acre Marsh Creek State Park. The Shryock property is just across Dorlan Mill Road from the northernmost end of the Struble Trail, which travels for 2.6 miles along the Creek as it flows toward Downingtown.

Chester County is among the fastest growing counties in Pennsylvania with a projected growth of nearly 30 percent over the next two decades, putting intense pressure on undeveloped land and the natural ecological services it provides.

Brandywine Creek is part of the Delaware River Watershed, a vast network of rivers and streams that begin in the Catskill Mountains of New York and empty into the Atlantic Ocean at Delaware Bay in New Jersey. It provides drinking water for 15 million people, including the communities of New York City, Trenton, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. One of the best ways to protect the quality of this water is to protect the undeveloped land—as well as the trees and other plants on that land, which filter rainwater and run off, slow floodwaters, and reduce erosion.

Funding for preservation of this project was provided by Chester County Preservation Partnership Program and East Brandywine Township’s Open Space Program.

Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said, “During the pandemic, we have seen and experienced, first-hand, how important access to nature is to our overall well-being. Our Landscapes3 ‘Preserve’ goal calls for creating additional recreational properties and expanding protection of natural habitats. The preservation of this parcel of land alongside the Brandywine achieves both of those objectives, giving access to the creek for fishing and kayaking, and protecting a sensitive riparian corridor. We are pleased to be able to partner with Natural Lands and East Brandywine Township on this relatively small, but very strategic land preservation project.”

Added Jason Winters, chairman of the East Brandywine Township Board of Supervisors, “We would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts in preserving this water front property along our scenic roadway.”