Conservation Easements: Reflections

February 13, 2012

Thursday was a very reaffirming day.  I started in Springfield Township, Bucks County talking with a landowner who established their Conservation Easement in 2003.  At that time he and his wife felt that much of the open space in their township was ripe for development.  They worried that the loss of so much open space would change the whole character of their community.  So, they made the commitment to put a conservation easement on their property.  They would try to set the example, and be able to answer questions for others that might be interested.  When we met Thursday, he was very proud to tell me that two of his neighbors had recently established conservation easements, and a third was seriously considering it.  That is a sizeable block of land that is now protected.  He was even more proud to announce that the township now is about 17% protected.  Sometimes it just takes a few dedicated people to get the ball rolling.

My next easement was in Williams Township, Northampton County.  The couple there had been instrumental in getting their neighbors to put an easement on their large property.  Afterwards, they realized that by putting an easement on their own property, they would be expanding the block of open space.  They just felt it was the right thing to do.

My final monitoring visit was in Haycock Township, Bucks County. This is a brand new easement, located near Lake Nockamixon State Park.  The couple bought the property 40 years ago, and built their house about 20 years ago.  They just love the property which is a forested boulder field and protects two tributaries of the Tohickon Creek.  They were also enthusiastic about the process of protecting their property.  Again I heard, “It was just the right thing to do.”  (I wonder how their commitment will affect the map of open space in the future.)