The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association honored Buckingham Township (Bucks County) with the 2013 Government Conservation Leadership Award for their demonstrated leadership in the conservation of our special landscapes and critical natural resources.
For the last forty years, Buckingham has been the focus of a struggle between opposing interests: those eager to take advantage of its prime location by building on the Township’s extensive and easy to develop farmland, and residents determined to preserve the township’s rural and historic legacy.
The Township became a development hotspot in the mid-1980s. Buckingham addressed this challenge by establishing a voter-approved open space program and renewing the program through two subsequent bond measures. This has enabled the Township to have significant funds available on a consistent basis in order to seize opportunities to preserve large and key parcels of lands when they become available.
Buckingham Township has preserved an impressive 3,770 acres of farmland. In addition, the Township has 220 acres of parkland and has preserved an additional 468 acres of open space. With an additional 678 acres preserved by land trusts, 477 acres of open space within developments, 181 acres owned by schools, a total of 5,793 acres of land are in public ownership or protected status. This represents over 25% of the Township.
Andy Loza, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association stated, “I commend Buckingham Township’s proactive and steadfast approach to land use planning and land conservation; the township’s leadership has enabled this community to protect its treasured landscapes and preserve its quality of life.”
The award was presented Saturday, April 6th in conjunction with the 11th Annual Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference in State College, Pennsylvania. Maggie Rash, Township Supervisor and Chairman, accepted the award on behalf of the township.
Maggie Rash, Township Supervisor and Chairman added, “Buckingham’s success in conservation and preservation is due to the steadfast support of resident volunteers, dedicated staff, consultants, and officials and two non-profit organizations that contribute to easements purchases. No preservation could happen, however, without farmers who want to preserve and our residents who continually go to the polls and vote to KEEP BUCKINGHAM GREEN!”