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Lancaster Conservancy starts process of acquiring over 1,000 acres of land in York County for conservation

The acquisition of this land from private owners will expand the Hellam Hills Conservation Area to over 2,100 acres.

YORK, Pa. — The Lancaster Conservancy announced Wednesday they are in the process of acquiring 1,066 acres of land bordering the Susquehanna River and Codorus Creek. 

The announcement comes from leadership from The Conservancy alongside local and state partners. 

Included with this acquisition are around 200 acres of farmland and about 900 acres of forest. 

“Forest that is so critical to clean water, ecosystem services. Forest that we plan to maintain and enhance over time to store carbon, to give our birds a place of rest, and for you to come and have solace with nature," says Phil Wenger, President and CEO of The Lancaster Conservancy.

The acquisition of this land from private owners will expand the Hellam Hills Conservation Area to over 2,100 acres.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have never been in a position where we have an owner that owns this much land," says Kate Gonick, Senior Vice President of Land Protection and General Counsel. "They have accumulated it over 100 years and they have been working very hard to take care of it and we’re just so excited that we’re going to protect it for everyone going forward.”

The Conservancy is working to raise $12 million to acquire the land, which is anticipated to happen in 2023. 

Once acquired, a period of research will take place to determine the best methods of conservation, recreation, and more. 

Credit: Fritz Schroeder

“We try not to put expectations onto the properties that we preserve. We study the properties and we want the properties, the conservation values of the properties, to speak for themselves. And so that’s known as ecological design," Brandon Tennis of The Conservancy tells FOX43. 

A public meeting of the final presentation of the Hellam Hills Master Plan is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30 at 6:00 pm.

Wenger says this will not be their last conservation project in the area. 

“This is a lifetime of acquisition. It’s not just a one and done property because we really love this conservation landscape that is the Susquehanna Corridor," he says.

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