What is a Conservantion Easement? A conservation easement is established by mutual agreement of a landowner and a land trust or government agency. The conservation easement permanently limits certain uses of the land in order to achieve a specified conservation purpose. The conservation easement is the tool most often used because it allows landowners to achieve their conservation goals while maintaining ownership. There are degrees of land use that can be incorporated into the easement. Easements are tailored to a landowner’s individual circumstance and the terms of the easement are finalized following detailed discussions between the landowner and the land trust. An easement does not grant public access to a property unless the landowner specifically allows it. A landowner’s income has no bearing on the ability to preserve land. It is a factor relating to the tax deduction determined through professional property appraisal.
Interested landowners may contact the Lebanon Valley Conservancy, Inc. to answer questions and to work with the landowner to preserve their property. The Conservancy will schedule an initial site visit to the property to collect information and determine the potential conservation values and determine the wishes of the landowner.
Easements / Preserved Properties
Richard and June Blouch (2006)
25.47-acre property along the Swatara Creek in Union Township is important for its agricultural and streamside habitat values. Strategically placed at the foot of the Kittatinny Ridge, an area that is known as a feeding and nesting ground for the thousands of raptors and songbirds which migrate through the Lebanon Valley along the Ridge. While the acreage protects some floodplain important in natural storm water control to keep the watershed healthier, it is actively farmed by local farm families using good conservation to contribute to the local economy.
Hartman Family Trust (2007)
16.5 acre conservation easement in North Cornwall Township protects significant frontage along the Quittapahilla Creek. It serves as a buffer for agriculture to an area that is experiencing considerable development pressure. A historic limekiln along with several small woodlots are present approximately ½ of the farm has been organically farmed for many years. The acreage is farmed by a local farm family as part of a larger operation. Property now owned by Nevin and Beth Copenhaver.
Herr Family Easement (2004)
73.6 acres in Union Township of rolling farm and woodland providing scenic vistas and open space. This conservation easement is along the Kittatinny Ridge, a migration flyway in spring and fall for thousands of hawks and eagles and millions of songbirds. The area has been officially designated by Audubon as the state’s largest “Important Bird Area.” The Herr property contains a small, unnamed waterway, riparian areas, and wildlife habitat with a sustainable forestry program in place. Bobcat, bear, deer, turtles, and fox are just some of the wildlife that depend on the Herr property.
Robert and Mary Elizabeth Conrad (2002)
152 acre farm in Swatara Township which includes a three-quarter-mile stretch of woodland along the Swatara Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. Remnants of the historic Union Canal are visible on the opposite bank of the creek. The property includes black birch, sugar maple and white oak, managed tracts of thousands of black walnut and pin oak trees which were planted with the long-term intent of reforesting and selective harvesting. Trial plantings of American Chestnut and four ponds also diversify the property.
Brian Keck (2009)
21.446 acre property in North Annville Township is bordered by a wooded lot with an unnamed stream that is a tributary to the Quittapahilla Creek. Protection of this tract has made neighboring lands eligible for preservation by creating larger contiguous areas of agricultural land.
Izaak Walton League (2012)
36.96 acres along the Swatara Creek in Union Township encompasses a wildlife preserve granted to the League in 1949 by Elizabeth Weidman to honor the memory of her great-great grandfather, Lt. John Weidman who fought in the Revolutionary War under General George Washington. The 2012 preservation of the property was an initiative of the League and helps to further protect the integrity of the Kittatinny Ridge.
Charles and Jean Henry (2013)
122.26 acre well maintained working farm in West Cornwall Township was preserved in the spring of 2013. The farm includes a lovely 1830’s farmhouse as well as various other farm buildings. The agricultural lands are contiguous with a farm previously preserved through the county ag program and the wooded portion is part of a much larger forested area that provides habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.
Clair Wagner, Clair Wagner II and Wanda Morgan (Clair’s daughter) (2013)
294.07 acres. The Wagner property lies within the Lebanon Valley, in the northern end of Lebanon County. It contains a significant amount of forest, and is adjacent to State Game Lands 211 and Swatara State Park. This property helps to further the mission of the Lebanon Valley Conservancy by protecting several hundred acres of healthy forest, which is adjacent to lands that are already protected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and lies within the high priority northern tier of the county, in close proximity to the Kittatinny Ridge, which has been designated as a globally significant travel corridor for migratory birds. The forested slopes also protect the headwaters of several streams, including at least one native trout stream. There are several agricultural fields which also offer open space and scenic views from the adjacent public roads, as well as buffers to streams and a pond on the property. This project protects lands that lie within the focus areas of several organizations, including Audubon PA, The Kittatinny Ridge Coalition, The Highlands Coalition, and The Nature Conservancy. This property is also in close proximity to Fort Indiantown Gap Macrosite, which was identified in the 2003 Lebanon County Natural Areas Inventory as a top priority natural area in Lebanon County. While there have not been any federally listed species documented on this property, it is situated close to several sites where listed species have been documented, including The Fort Indiantown Gap Macrosite, Swatara State Park, and Swatara Hillside Forest, where a small population of Blackseed Needlegrass is currently the only extant record in Pennsylvania. In addition, the rural integrity of this property was under potential threat of development by the expansion of an adjacent amusement park.