January 11, 2012 —
The Pike County Planning Department ended 2011 with a couple of open space grants, turning over two large tracts of land that otherwise would probably come under the development bulldozer.
All during 2011, the department, working in conjunction with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in many instances, purchased land outright or purchased the development rights by securing easements. Thousands of acres were saved from development and the county’s open space policy was extended.
One grant for $1,126,000 was used for the Rock Hill Land Acquisition, a 486-acre Boy Scout camp, which was originally under contract to be developed. The land is off Route 739 and adjacent to the Delaware State Forest and State Game Lands #180 in Dingman Township.
“The purpose of the Rock Hill Land purchase is for the preservation of critical habitat, headwaters protection and passive recreation,” said Sally Corrigan, director of the Pike County Department of Planning. “The county applied for these grants through the Community Conservation Partnership,” she said.
The county will deed the land over to the State Bureau of Forestry, she said.
The second grant for $600,000 was used to purchase approximately 310 acres, called the KD Land Acquisition. “The land is adjacent to the Delaware State Forest and off Routes 402 and 6 in Blooming Grove Township. Again, it was for the preservation of habitat, and passive recreation.”
“I’m not against development, but these properties are hard to resist when there is funding available,” said Commissioner Karl Wagner.
“DCNR will pay 50% of the cost for both projects,” Corrigan said to the commissioners. “The other 50% will be covered by a variety of funding agencies, like the Scenic Rural Character Preservation program, with funding from the Trust for Public Land and some other sources that we are trying to identify. We can assure you that county funds will not be used for these purchases.”