New Hope is a small community population-wise and area-wise. Because New Hope does not have much landmass, every small parcel of green counts. Keystone funding has been used to create what the borough calls pocket parks, two just along the Delaware River, and one that straddles the railroad track.
Lancaster County Conservancy’s creation of the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve protects some of the county’s rapidly diminishing open space. Described as the premier natural area in Lancaster County, it includes a rhododendron and hemlock canopied trail following Tucquan Creek, a creek so clear it’s been designated as a wild and scenic Pennsylvania River. During the summer, nearby city residents flee to the creek’s cool waters. Each spring, Tucquan becomes a classroom for every sixth-grader in the Marticville School District, and for some students, it is their first opportunity to experience a true natural setting.
In East Vincent Township, 36.5 acres in the French Creek Watershed were purchased for a township park and natural open space area. It is a part of a 154-acre property that had been purchased by a local developer and the township was able to work with the developer, a local land trust, and citizen groups to preserve a portion of this property, achieve a site plan for environmentally sensitive growth, and protect greenway corridors.
When 203 acres of farmland next door was sold to a developer, Mary and Josh, were devastated but not surprised, considering the number of farms sold off in recent years. The couple rallied the community behind them and as a result, the developer decided to sell the property, and Mary and Josh purchased it. Through a mix of programs the couple was able to conserve their neighbor’s farm, their own farm, and an adjacent 244-acre woodland, which is now part of the Game Commission’s public hunting grounds.
There aren’t many places that attract senior citizens, dog walkers, skateboarders, and children simultaneously. Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area is an exception. In May 2002, DCNR provided $55,000 in Keystone grant funds to further develop Pine Hill. The park also attracts a wide variety of users who come to admire views of Michaux State Forest, especially when the leaves change color in the fall.
Lawrence County established a greenway and recreation plan, which will facilitate the protection of sensitive conservation areas and enhance recreational opportunities for its residents. The new plan develops a county-wide rural recreation plan for municipalities with little or no access to recreation lands and facilities. It calls for the community to develop a trail system, aid in the preservation and reclamation of natural floodplains to enhance water quality, and protect wildlife habitat and open space.
In Monroe County, hundreds of acres of protected land, a 2150 acre regional park system, and a new 10-mile trail system are the result of regional open space and recreation plans. Through the development of these plans, a multi-municipal recreation commission was established to serve the recreational and open space needs of more than 35,000 residents. Robust community planning has been instrumental in working together to offer a higher quality of life in the region.
A partnership with Keystone and playground equipment manufacturer Playworld enabled the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority to successfully renovate the Lewisburg Area Recreation Park. The park now includes $800,000 worth of donated equipment, including active playground areas for ages two to five and five to 12, a climbing wall, a skateboard/BMX facility, and a Life Trail with fitness equipment for older adults.
A Keystone grant to purchase 33 acres of Montandon Marsh began the work to preserve and protect what is a one of the few remaining diverse riparian wetlands ecosystems in central Pennsylvania. The work includes collaborating with a sand and gravel miner in the marsh to protect the marsh so future generations can enjoy it. Education, outreach, and protection the marsh are a vital part of the ongoing effort to preserve Montandon, which offers refuge for migrating waterfowl and critical habitat for wetlands birds.
Blue Mountain stretches from northern New Jersey down through 11 Pennsylvania counties to the Maryland state line. Rain and snow on the mountain drain into 1,597 sources of public drinking water and the mountain’s forests provide some of the best wildlife habitat in the state and are home to 160 miles of the Appalachian Trail. An alliance of sportsmen, conservation groups, businesses, landowners, and government and tourism agencies are working to conserve it, piece by piece. But most of it remains unprotected.