Delaware State Forest Addition Completed

The Trust for Public Land announced today that it has permanently protected 310 acres of forest in the Township of Blooming Grove, Pike County, Pennsylvania. The property was transferred to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry as an addition to the 80,267-acre Delaware State Forest. Renowned for its remote glacial lakes and bogs rich with plants, wildlife and scenic beauty, the forest derives its name from the nearby Delaware River. With frontage along routes 6 and 402, the 310-acre property was a high acquisition priority for the Delaware State Forest, which attracts millions of visitors annually from the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, each located two hours away.

“The Trust for Public Land is pleased to have partnered with Pike County and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to add this property to the Delaware State Forest,” said Anthony Cucchi, Pennsylvania state director for The Trust for Public Land. “Now that the property will be actively managed by the Bureau of Forestry, the contiguous forest will enhance the local tourism economy, conserve natural resources and protect Pike County’s rural character.”

Funding for the $1,200,000 acquisition was provided by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program and a grant from the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program. The Trust for Public Land assisted Pike County and local partners in passing a $10 million open space bond in 2005. The project continues a successful partnership between Pike County, DCNR and The Trust for Public Land, which together protected the 89-acre Santos Farm property located along the Delaware River in 2009.

Surrounded by state forest on two sides, the newly acquired property will expand the Blooming Grove 4-H Hiking Trail. Located adjacent to the property, the hiking trail is a seven-mile trail system developed by Pike County 4-H Club members in coordination with the Bureau of Forestry.

“Our priorities when it comes to adding land to our system is to provide buffers to our existing lands; expand trails, which we know is the number one priority of our residents; and protect habitat and resources such as water quality,” said DCNR Secretary Richard Allan. “The conservation of this land meets all of those goals.”

The property will also buffer the White Deer Lake section of the state forest, protecting water quality. Visitors to White Deer Lake can launch boats, fish for bass and panfish, hike, mountain bike and horseback ride on the property.

Allan added that open space protection and trail expansion are priorities in the Pocono Forest and Water Conservation Landscape effort to bring many partners together to tie economic vitality to natural resource protection.

The Pike County Board of Commissioners expressed its appreciation for the ongoing partnership with The Trust for Public Land. Rich Caridi, Chairman of the Board, stated, “This 310-acre property is a great addition to adjacent Delaware State Forest public lands in Pike County. The property provides full public access for the enjoyment of Pike County residents and visitors.” Commissioner Matthew Osterberg stated, “This will be the second land acquisition added to our Pike County open space through the joint partnership of Pike County with The Trust for Public Land.” Commissioner Karl Wagner added, “We cannot stress how important the technical advice and assistance from The Trust for Public Land has been to our Pike County open space preservation program.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect 3 million acres nationwide, including almost 3,000 acres in Pennsylvania. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.