An Environmental Stewardship Fund grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) enabled Natural Lands, in partnership with East Bradford Township, to purchase a conservation easement on 360 acres of the 580-acre Paradise Farm Property in Chester County. Protection of this property was a win–win for all parties.
The parcel ranked highly on Natural Lands’ list of critical habitats to be protected for their wildlife, water quality, and woodlands. East Bradford Township was anxious to gain protection and public access to the property in order to enable a trail corridor along Valley Creek, a high-quality trout stream vulnerable to degradation. Neighboring West Bradford Township also valued the trail links and went on to receive federal transportation funds to link its trails to Paradise Farms. Because it provides a beautiful natural setting for residents to explore, the parcel enhanced the community character of these townships.
Chester County was also eager to protect the land, since the parcel was part of a priority wildlife biodiversity corridor in its open space plan and could provide a trail link to existing public trails, eventually linking Chester County to Philadelphia. The West Chester Fish, Game, and Wildlife Association, which operates a trout nursery and has stocked the West Valley Creek for over 30 years, supported the project to ensure that the creek will be open for public fishing forever. And the Children’s Country Week Association benefited from the capital funds from the transaction that were directed towards its mission to provide outdoor educational and recreational experiences to children and families with limited resources.
All told, the public benefits of this project were extensive. A strong partnership—between a regional land trust, the county, local municipalities, and a charitable organization—was required to make it a reality.