Pennypack Trust Gains 20 Acres for Water Quality Protection

The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust is proud to announce that it has just placed 20.6 acres under a conservation easement! We’re happy to partner with the Sullivan Family to permanently protect their property from development. This easement raises the total amount of land conserved by the Trust to 852 acres, all of which protects four linear miles of the Pennypack Creek.

Board President Gil High, Jr. said: “Without this easement, several homes could have been built on the property. We think this easement is a great safeguard to our remaining forests and streams from development.” The property is in the headwaters of Cairn Run, a tributary of the Pennypack that drains the central portion of Bryn Athyn Borough and Lower Moreland Township. The easement will permanently protect the Cairn Run floodplain by creating a vegetated buffer to protect it from road salt and residential and agricultural runoff. It will also constrict any new development to the area of the existing house and maintain the balance for wildlife and small-scale agriculture.

This tributary is special to the Pennypack watershed. Just a handful of landowners control its length. It is an opportunity to orchestrate land management to benefit wildlife and water quality first and foremost. The property also pushes the Trust’s boundary further east and challenges us to better serve the residents of Bryn Athyn Borough and Lower Moreland Township.

Meemie Sullivan and her husband Allen, along with Meemie’s mother, Peg Sullivan, have been living on the property for decades, where they raise sheep, chickens, and horses. Meemie represents one of several generations to raise animals there and she has a long-standing relationship with Penn State Agriculture and the local 4H program. Meemie acted as the agent for her mother and other family members Mary Fairbanks, Jan Davis, and Andrew Sullivan. Speaking on behalf of the family, Meemie said, “We are overjoyed to preserve open space and expand the Pennypack Trust. We hope that this can build some momentum to motivate our neighbors to do the same.”

Bill Weihenmayer, former President of the Pennypack Trust and architect of the transaction explained that The Trust was able to pay for this easement with the help of Grace Beatty who gave a special planned gift to support land acquisition and maintenance. “The Beatty bequest has just been life-changing for the Trust as there is very little public money available today for open space protection. Her gift allows the Trust to be proactive in today’s real estate market. We hope it’s the beginning of a new era of land protection.”

While the easement does not grant access to the public, all will benefit from the ecological services that the land provides: naturally cleaned, filtered, and stored water, and diverse habitat for wildlife.

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust