For the first time in seven years, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) is not celebrating the summer solstice with neighbors atop Crossfield Hill at its Stateline Woods Preserve. The land trust has something more perpetual than the fleeting seasons to celebrate: a gift of land, which will give back to the community for generations to come.

This summer TLC will add the three-acre Lee Woods to the 82-acre Stateline Woods Preserve in Kennett Square. The Lee Woods, which TLC acquired partly by sale and partly by donation from the Kung Hsing and Susan Lee family, is adjacent to Stateline Woods and will provide trail access to the preserve from Nine Gates Road. This is part of an ongoing strategic plan by TLC to expand its existing preserves by creating conservation corridors. So far in 2017,  TLC has added another five acres on the west side of the preserve and received grant funding to acquire another 30 acres over the next two years.

The Stateline Woods Preserve and the Lee Woods are part of the larger Stateline Woods Conservation Corridor, a protected corridor encompassing over 400 acres of land with approximately 10 miles of trails. TLC has been working on securing additional land and trail linkages since its acquisition of the 15-acre Marshall Mill House back in 2000. Over the years, TLC has purchased two additional preserves, Stateline Woods and Marshall Bridge, to add to the Stateline Woods Conservation Corridor. During this time, the Auburn Heights Preserve and Auburn Valley Trail, which are adjacent to TLC lands, opened in neighboring Yorklyn, Delaware.

None of this would be possible without neighbors coming together, just like they did a decade ago to help TLC save the Stateline Woods Preserve, which was slated for a 32-home subdivision. Open space funding from Kennett Township, along with a donation of the land’s value from the Lees, helped seal the deal. The Lees, who live elsewhere in Chester County, bought the wooded lot in the 1970s and used to camp there with their two young sons. One of their sons passed away prematurely and the Lees now see the conservation of the land as a way to honor his memory. The Lee boys’ initials are forever carved in a beech tree as you enter the property. Not only will the Lee property serve as an alternative access point for the Stateline Woods, but TLC will host overnight camping programs on the property in honor of the Lee family legacy.

Watch a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony at Lee Woods. The public is encouraged to enjoy this new addition.