20 More Acres Protected
On May 16, 2016, a Huntingdon Valley resident granted a conservation easement to the Pennypack Trust, giving the Trust oversight authority on 20 acres of land in the floodplain of Huntingdon Valley Creek. The beautiful property contains broad paths winding through meadows, woodlands, and marshy areas as well as a few hundred feet of Huntingdon Valley Creek. The landowner and his heirs will continue to own and maintain the property; the Trust will be responsible for monitoring the easement once annually to ensure that the natural landscape remains undisturbed. The land is not open to the public, but it does safeguard the views from two local roadways.
With this generous donation, the Pennypack Trust now has oversight authority (either through direct fee simple ownership or responsibility for managing easements) on 832 acres.
Pennypack Helps Protect 27-Arce Wetland
On November 19, 2010, the Pennypack Trust helped Lower Moreland Township, Montgomery County, acquire a 27-acre property, putting an end to a long series of ill-conceived proposals to develop the limited upland acreage on the parcel. Over the last two decades, the property, located on Philmont Avenue just east of Red Lion Road, had had a series of owners who had proposed at various times developing shopping centers, townhouses, and assisted care facilities on the non-wetland portion of the land. But difficulties with access and wetland disturbance stymied each proposal. Finally, with the real estate collapse, the most recent owners agreed to sell the property to Lower Moreland Township for protection as open space. The Pennypack Trust negotiated the deal with the owners, contributed $116,000 to the project and, for a few short moments, actually owned the property before transferring it to the township. Protection of the wetlands should help to reduce flooding on nearby Huntingdon Valley Creek, and both the marsh and the young woodlands growing on the drier lands provide habitat for wildlife along the busy Philmont Avenue commercial corridor. Lower Moreland plans to develop a nature trail through the property.
The Trust completed its latest land protection project—the 30-acre Cathedral Meadows property at the intersection of Paper Mill and Cathedral Roads in Bryn Athyn—on May 19, 2010, bringing the total landholdings under the Trust’s protection to 801 acres. The newly protected property supports mostly native grasslands and old-field habitat dominated by goldenrod and asters. However, the property also includes a stream that is tributary to Pennypack Creek and a shallow pond favored by wading birds and waterfowl. The agreement with the seller specified that the Trust would not build a trail through the property, but the Trust’s staff will conduct periodic guided walks for members. Watch the Coming Events for notices of scheduled hikes.
The Pennypack Trust and Aqua Pennsylvania are working to fulfill a pledge that Aqua Pennsylvania made over a decade ago to donate four acres of land to be added to the Pennypack Preserve. When the Pennypack Trust purchased the 37-acre Bethayres Woods tract from Aqua Pennsylvania in 1999, the company retained a four-acre abandoned quarry adjacent to the protected land. Aqua intended to deposit clean fill generated by its infrastructure improvement projects in the quarry, and then to cap, recontour, and revegetate the site. Once this work was completed, Aqua agreed to offer the site to the Trust to expand the Bethayres Woods preserve.
Revegetation was completed late in 2009, but the Trust decided to be prudent and ordered a Phase II environmental study of the quarry. An environmental consultant extracted drill cores from the fill in the spring of 2010, and sent the material to an analytical laboratory for evaluation. Once the Trust receives and reviews the results of the tests, the Trust will make a decision about whether to accept Aqua’s donation of four more acres.