Natural Lands announced in early July 2020 the purchase of two properties totaling just over 14 acres that were then transferred as additions to Nockamixon State Park. The properties, which are both immediately adjacent to the Park, were at risk for development but are now protected forever.
“Over the past few months, as the coronavirus turned things upside down, we’ve watched people flock to the outdoors for exercise, relaxation, and comfort,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands. “It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of these projects, which have added critical open space to Nockamixon State Park that everyone can enjoy.”
Nockamixon State Park draws thousands of visitors every year to its hiking and biking trails, diversity of birds and other wildlife, and large lake used for boating, paddle-boarding, and fishing. The two newly added properties will be open to visitors and bring Nockamixon’s acreage to 5,304.
“This year due to the circumstances related to COVID-19, DCNR lands and public outdoor spaces have experienced record visitation,” said Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). “DCNR recognizes the importance parks and forests have in maintaining an individual’s physical and mental health. Now more than ever, public lands are providing the space needed for people to connect to nature.”
The two forested properties help protect the water quality of Lake Nockamixon by filtering and slowing stormwater. The woodlands also sequester carbon and offer important habitat to wildlife. And, the land creates a scenic view for drivers traveling along PA Route 563.
The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks provided half of the funding for these two transactions; Natural Lands secured the remaining monies through the Highlands Act. The Highlands Act authorizes the Department of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to provide federal matching grants to support the agencies in purchasing land, or an interest in land, from willing sellers. Congress appropriates funding annually under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“We decided that preserving this lovely wooded property was the best possible use of this land,” said David Moyer, former owner of one of the two recently transferred properties. “We are thrilled at this very positive outcome and hope the people of Bucks County and all visitors to the park will be able to enjoy this parcel of woodland in its natural, undeveloped state.”
“I’m pleased to see these 14 forested acres added to Nockamixon State Park. These two acquisitions will provide enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreational activities to the citizens of the Commonwealth through the conservation of open natural green space in the highly developed region of southeastern Pennsylvania,” said State Park Director John Hallas. “Our partnership with Natural Lands and the US Fish and Wildlife Service assists state parks in conserving important parcels. Through these partnerships, we are able to stretch acquisition dollars, and, ultimately, conserve more land.”