Protecting our rural character and natural resources
through community-based land conservation.
Recent easements in key watershed
lands spanning Tinicum and Nockamixon...
"Giving Back" could be the motto for owners of two properties that recently came under conservation easement through the Tinicum Conservancy. In all, more than 100 acres are newly conserved, bringing the total acreage protected by the Conservancy to 4,700. One property lies on the northern edge of Tinicum Township, and the other is in Nockamixon Township. One includes a portion of Beaver Run Creek and the other a section of Gallows Run Creek.
For Jennifer McCandless, the decision to conserve more than 60 acres in Nockamixon was never in doubt. She was given the property by the previous owners, Dean and Louise Pine, who had talked about preserving the land but had never acted on it.
McCandless provides home-care for the elderly and one of her first clients was Dean Pine. When Dean passed away, Jennifer and Louise continued their friendship.
"I would go to her house to have tea," Jennifer says. She went with Louise to run errands and took her shopping. Louise felt that Jennifer was like a daughter, and when she suddenly fell ill, she told Jennifer that she was leaving the house and property to her.
Since then, says Jennifer, "I've been trying to give back." Her mother, who lives on the property, regularly hosts the Bucks County Expressionist Group to spend time there painting and photographing. "We love sharing the property with others," Jennifer says.
Primarily forested, the land lies between the Coffman Hill and Cooks Creek Conservation Landscapes and includes a half mile of Gallows Run Creek, which flows directly into the Delaware River. It is contiguous with 183 acres of protected agricultural easement land, and is adjacent to Camp Nockamixon. Among other scenic resources, there's a breathtaking stretch along Traugers Crossing Road as it follows forested slopes close by Gallows Run for roughly 1,000 feet at the property's eastern edge.
The easement was a collaboration between the Conservancy, the Bucks County Natural Areas Program, and the Nockamixon Township Open Space Board.
Trevor and Linda McNeill
Trevor and Linda McNeill have given back as well--not only by protecting their 30-acre property on Tammany Road, but going further by purchasing an additional 20 acres, and putting all 50 acres under easement. Their land is in Upper Black Eddy, within the Coffman Hill Conservation Landscape, and includes 900 feet of Beaver Run Creek, a tributary of Tinicum Creek. The additional 20 acres purchased by the McNeills were owned by the Heritage Conservancy. That land is adjacent to the McNeills on one side and to 620 acres of PA State Game Lands on the other three sides.
Heritage Conservancy wasn't using the land programmatically and considered selling it to the Game Lands, which will not accept land with any sort of restrictions (not just related to hunting, but to industrial use as well). So the McNeills really "stood up" for conservation by taking on and ensuring the protection of these additional 20 acres. The Conservancy was pleased to partner with Heritage on a deal that benefits all. The easement was completed with help from the Bucks County Natural Areas Program; though they qualified, the McNeills sought no township funding.
Trevor McNeill was born and raised in Plumstead Township; he crossed the Tohickon to make the move into Tinicum in 1994. Linda has lived here since 1981. They have both worked diligently on behalf of Tinicum Township and for preservation. She has held the township manager position for 20 years; he has served on the Planning Commission for 15. Their easement also continues a family legacy of land protection: Trevor's father was on the Plumstead Planning Commission and fought to bring about Plumstead's first zoning ordinance. Years ago, his mother was one of the first to buy a property for the stated purpose of putting it under easement with the Conservancy.
Conserving their land "achieves our personal goal of land preservation, and also the County's Natural Areas Program goal to preserve significant natural resources,” says Linda. In addition to the section of the creek, the property includes a large forested wetland, many natural springs and at least one vernal pond. Along with the beauty and quiet, "happily interrupted by birds, tree frogs, and bull frogs depending on the time of year," notes Trevor, the McNeills especially enjoy their woodlands, with mature beech trees, wildflowers, ferns, and diabase boulders.
The McCandless and McNeill easements help fulfill the Tinicum Conservancy's mandate to protect watershed land. The properties form an ever-growing web of healthy habitat that in turn will help protect and improve the water quality of the Delaware River and its tributaries.
In the course of conducting the Bucks County Natural Areas survey, an herb designated a "state species of special concern" called the pineland pimpernel was discovered growing on the property. Conservation of this member of the primrose family will depend on maintaining habitat like the McNeills' wetlands. Not long after the easement was completed, Linda came across a threatened species of turtle (a northern redbelly coater) along the creek. For Linda, it's "the kind of find that reinforces the pleasure of preserving our property."