Photo credit: DCNR

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that the department had awarded a $754,300 grant for a major addition at White Clay Creek Preserve.

“White Clay Creek Preserve is integral to providing outdoor recreation opportunities in this community and the region at large, which is why we are pleased to make today’s grant announcement,” Dunn said. “I am grateful for the positive impact this acquisition, and the incredible work being done locally to help protect and expand public lands, will undoubtedly have in the future.

The acquisition of the Martin tract adds 162 acres to White Clay Creek Preserve for additional recreation space. The 3,050-acre White Clay Creek Preserve is in southern Chester County, three miles north of Newark, Delaware, and possesses outstanding scenic, wildlife, recreational, and cultural value. It has been designated by Congress as a National Wild and Scenic River, and shall be preserved in free-flowing condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

“Elk Township is very happy to receive over $750,000 from DCNR towards the purchase of the 162-acre Martin Tract,” said Melanie Ryan, a member of the Elk Creek Watershed Association and of the Elk township Open Space Board. “This property contains significant woodlands, wildlife habitat, and headwater streams to the Big Elk Creek. The Martin property is an extension of the Big Elk Section of the White Clay Preserve in southern Chester County.”

DCNR provides grants to myriad projects across the commonwealth annually, including a $70 million investment during the 2021-22 fiscal year. Its Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants can fund:

  • Planning, acquisition, and development of public parks and recreation areas
  • Motorized and non-motorized trails
  • River conservation and access
  • Heritage areas and facilities
  • Conservation of critical habitat, natural areas and open space

Eligible applicants for these grants include counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, prequalified land trusts, and for-profit enterprises (for some grant types). Grant funding for the program comes from a variety of state funding sources including Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, ATV and Snowmobile Management Restricted Accounts, Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program and federal sources including the Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. DCNR selects the most appropriate funding source based on the applicant and proposed project.

“Every time we preserve our open spaces and watersheds, we’re supporting the constitutional right of all Pennsylvanians to ‘clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment,’” said state Senator Carolyn Comitta. “I thank DCNR for this investment in expanding the White Clay Creek Preserve. And I continue to work to ensure that the preserve and this new addition can be accessed and enjoyed by all residents, families, and visitors for generations to come.”

More than 220 land acquisition projects have been awarded under the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, leading to the permanent protection of 37,000 acres of publicly accessible open space across the commonwealth.

Learn more about DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Program grants on the DCNR website.