Just a few miles outside of the northern tier town of Wellsboro, PA, sits the 138-acre homestead of Barry and Jane Brucklacher. Originally, a dairy farm, the sprawling hayfields are still productive today, harvested by a local farmer to support a mushroom grower in Kennett Square, PA. A woodland of aspen, beech, maple, and oak trees provide food and shelter for white-tailed deer, bears, bobcats, and a variety of other native wildlife. A network of trails meander through the woodland by two ponds and a winding stream on its way to Elk Creek. On the outskirts of the property, a portion of the popular Mid State Trail cuts through, providing hikers with picturesque views of the Tioga County countryside. A trio of donkeys – Jesse James, Tyrone, and Adabel – graze in the pasture. The original barn stores equipment, with the top floor converted to serve as a maternity roost for little brown bats, whose population has experienced a severe decline in the past decade.
Having bought the property in 1972, the Brucklachers enjoy simple strolls around the grounds together and continue to be grateful for the opportunity to own such a special place. With thoughts of the future, they decided to seek out options to conserve the wildlife habitat, biodiversity, farmland, and natural resources on their property for generations to come.
Initially, they enrolled 103 acres of their property in the Tioga County Agricultural Farmland Preservation Program. However, they still had hopes to conserve even more of the property. Fortunately, a like-minded neighbor shared her experience with the Brucklachers of conserving her family farm with the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC).
The Brucklachers connected with NPC Land Steward, Sara Schlesinger, to discuss their values and conservation goals. After their initial meeting and walking the land together, it didn’t take Sara long to realize that the Brucklachers remaining 29 acres aligned with NPC’s mission to conserve and enhance the lands and waters of Northcentral PA. Sara stated, “It was clear that the land was well-loved and stewarded. The forested land along the tributary that flows into Elk Creek prevents the streambank from eroding and washing away, helping to keep excess nutrients from flowing into the creek and elsewhere downstream. Conserving the water resources, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity, on the property supports the overall environmental well-being of the community.”
After a year of more meetings, paperwork, surveys, walk throughs on the land, and all the other in-betweens, Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy wrapped up 2023 with the establishment of the ‘Brucklacher’ conservation easement.