On April 9, Bridgeton Township—in partnership with the Tinicum Conservancy—completed the purchase of a 107-acre tract near the Delaware Canal and within walking distance of the newly established Pennsylvania Highlands Trail. A former quarry, the site is framed by the dramatic and rugged palisades to the west and the Delaware River bottomlands to the east. Abandoned for more than 40 years, it has become a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife, including otter, coyotes, frogs, salamander and reptiles. Small ponds—remnants of the original sand and gravel pits—dot the property.

In late 2017, township officials saw an opportunity to convert the abandoned quarry property into a preserve and recreational area. They contacted the Conservancy to help the township develop an acquisition strategy and negotiate the purchase. The Conservancy also helped secure more than $600,000 in grant funding from the Bucks County Natural Areas program, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program, and a private foundation.

“This is an exciting project for us to assist with,” explained Boyce Budd, Conservancy president. “Funding was never a sure thing. It took real dedication by all parties to make this dream come true.”

The township will lead a public discussion and planning strategy session to help determine how the property will be used, with the goal of balancing environmental protection and public enjoyment. Development of a parking area and trail system is anticipated to be part of the preserve plan, along with possible tree planting and habitat restoration. Opportunities will exist for people to get involved in all these activities.

“We look forward to hearing from everyone who is interested in the future of this new preserve” said Gard Holby, chair of the Bridgeton Township Supervisors. “We hope that once a plan is developed, people will lend a hand and help us make this a place where everyone can visit and enjoy.”

This is not the first time the Conservancy and Bridgeton Township have worked together. In 2012, they joined forces to conserve the largest remaining farm in the township: a 75-acre historic property located off Bridgeton Hill Road. Bridgeton Township is located along the Delaware River in northern Bucks County and is home to more than 1,200 residents.