The entire 2,500-acre Tree Farm #1 property would likely have been developed if it weren't for the support of the local community and a group of conservation partners, including the Fund.
The Threat Of Development
Located just over an hour’s drive from Washington D.C., Tree Farm #1 provides Adams County residents with clean water and access to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. But when the property was put on the market in late 2007, strong interest from potential buyers led to concern that it would sell quickly and be developed. Zoning would have allowed for the construction of approximately 500 homes on the land.
The loss of forestland for source water protection, and the potential cost of having to provide services for development on-site, caused concern among Hamiltonban and neighboring municipal officials. Many also felt that the property’s watershed, plant and animal habitat and recreational value made it unsuitable for development.
When the land went up for sale, concerned residents and local organizations needed to quickly raise funds to protect it. That’s when the Fund provided critical bridge financing, purchased the land and held it until financing became available.
Our effort began in March 2008, when we purchased the Tree Farm #1, or Mount Hope, property from Glatfelter Pulp Wood Company. For years, this was Glatfelter’s flagship property among thousands of acres of land holdings in the mid-Atlantic region. We transferred the property to the Pennsylvania DCNR for incorporation into Michaux State Forest in 2010.
2015 Addition of Eagle Rock
The Conservation Fund and DCNR worked together to acquire and add the 1,100-acre property previously known as Eagle Rock to Michaux State Forest in August 2015. It will be managed long-term for timber as part of the DCNR’s State Forest Resource Management Plan. DCNR plans to seek certification for the property by the Forest Stewardship Council. By maintaining the working forest quality of the land, this effort will support Franklin County’s timber industry and more than 1,000 timber jobs. The property, featuring existing trails that link directly to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, will also be open for public recreational access. The project also protects tributaries of the Conococheague Creek and serves as an important natural forest buffer to the Guilford Water Authority, which supplies drinking water for residents in south Franklin County.
Tree Farm #1
Conservation of this land was made possible because of a two-year partnership involving federal, state and local governments; private organizations and the citizens of Adams County. The Pennsylvania DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry managed and patrolled the site during the Fund’s interim ownership. Former Sen. Arlen Specter, along with Sen. Bob Casey and former Rep. Todd Platts, supported this project in Congress and secured $3.5 million through the federal Forest Legacy program. Adams County provided $3.7 million from the Water & Land Protection Bond, which Adams County voters overwhelmingly passed in 2008. The commonwealth contributed $4 million through the Growing Greener II program and the Pittsburgh-based Richard King Mellon Foundation provided $2 million. Contributions from local municipalities and private donations secured by the Land Conservancy of Adams County and The Nature Conservancy totaled more than $130,000.
The Eagle Rock addition was made possible with $1.5 million in federal funding awarded to the DCNR from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the Forest Legacy Program; a $1.5 million grant from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program; $679,000 from a DCNR fund from mitigation payments for rights-of-way intended for the acquisition of new state forest lands; as well as local funding from Greene Township and Franklin County.
Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of the Fund's top conservation priorities. Watch the video to learn why.
Why Do Forests Matter?
At The Conservation Fund, we believe that well-managed forests can be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable, but like all other necessary parts of our national infrastructure, they need to be invested in and maintained. That's why, since 1985, we've protected more than a million forest acres across America. Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of our top conservation priorities.
Mountain bikers enjoying a ride through Michaux State Forest. Photo by Jonas Nockert/Flickr