November 22, 2011 —
Pike County has been after this for nearly six years and now it may have it. The county is seeking an easement on the 4600-acre Little Bushkill Headwaters Reserve, a prime slice of the Delaware River watershed in Lehman Township.
“This is the most important open space project that is available,” said Pike commissioner Karl Wagner, “It’s a link to the state forests and the Mid-Delaware National Park. I’m not against development, but this is too great to pass up. This property should not be developed.”
One third of the county is park, another third is developed, and this is the last third, he said.
The reserve is ranked number one on the state forestry list for high quality property available for easement, said Sue Currier, executive director of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy.
“The properties are owned by three hunting clubs who are willing to sell the easement for less than market price since they are anxious that the land be saved from development,” said Pat Calton of the Lehman Lake Club, who made the presentation to the commissioners.
The three clubs are: Mink Pond Hunting and Fishing Club, Lehman Lake Rod & Gun Club and Maskenozha Rod & Gun Club.
“We are asking that the price be 40% of the market price but we are willing to take less,” Calton said. “We may get 20 or 30%, which is acceptable.”
“We have gone after this project for six or seven years,” Currier said. “We are hoping that this is the year that we may be ranked higher over other applications. We don’t know what the competition is.”
The proposal is not to purchase the property but to purchase a conservation easement, or the development rights, while the land will still be owned by the three camps.