In early December 2019, Wildlands Conservancy announced the permanent protection of 9.2 acres of property along the Lehigh River in the Lehigh Valley.

Situated in Washington Township, Lehigh County, the riverfront property straddles the D&L Trail. Wildlands purchased the property with cooperation from Edwin L. Berger for immediate transfer to Lehigh County. Wildlands and the County will continue to partner to fulfill plans for enhanced Lehigh River access and outdoor recreation at the newly protected site.

“This riverfront property is a strong example of what we mean when we say that Wildands creates lasting connections to nature,” said Christopher Kocher, president of Wildlands. “Thanks to our legacy partnership with Lehigh County and the visionary support of our giving community, we’re enhancing fishing and boating experiences with our Lehigh River, and along with that, we’re bolstering the economic return on our region’s growing outdoor recreation industry.”

Wildlands acknowledges the support of its giving community, especially the Palmerton Natural Resource Trustee Council, Edwin L. Berger, and the County of Lehigh for providing funding for the purchase of these 9.2 acres.

“The Palmerton Natural Resources Trustee Council identified habitat conservation and improved fishing access as priorities in the Final Restoration Plan for the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site,” said Tim Schaeffer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, on behalf of the Trustee Council. “Acquisition of the Berger Property meets the goals of the Restoration Plan and proposed actions in the Lehigh River Fisheries Management Plan by protecting high quality riparian habitat along the Lehigh River and providing public access to the River. This acquisition will provide perpetual public benefit to protect, access and enjoy one of the valuable aquatic resources our State has to offer.”