Preserving A Bit Of The Past

Posted: July 17, 1986

Over the years, residents of the tri-state region have rallied to preserve unique tracts of land from development, contributing dollars to buy the properties before they are developed. The list is long and impressive: Valley Forge, Tinicum Marsh, a refuge for Cape May's migratory birds, the Nottingham Serpentine Barrens in Chester and Lancaster Counties.

The need has arisen again. Delhaas Woods is a 94-acre tract that is the largest and best remnant of the coastal plain forests that once existed across most of this area. While there are some coastal plain forests remaining in New Jersey, there are none equal to this in Pennsylvania. Located in densely populated Bristol Township, Bucks County, the tract contains rare and endangered plant species and many mature trees of unusual varieties.

Delhaas Woods exists today only by accident. Developers have built elsewhere because the tract's soil is frequently waterlogged. But with open space at a premium in lower Bucks, the site has drawn renewed interest from developers.

In a cooperative effort to buy the tract and preserve it for public use, Bucks County officials have applied to the state for $100,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy has agreed to raise private dollars to match the public

funds. The Conservancy, a national organization, has been instrumental in preserving many historically and environmentally significant parcels of land in this region and elsewhere.

Bucks County has agreed to manage the property, which is located near its Silver Lake Nature Center. If the campaign to save the Delhaas Woods succeeds, another piece of natural history will be preserved and everyone will be the beneficiary.

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