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Townships Protect 777 Acres and Water Quality

Winter 2011-2012

On December 30, 2011, Paradise and Price Townships acquired 777 acres of open space land.  The property spans the Cranberry Creek watershed and the Brodhead Creek watershed, with about a third of a mile of frontage on the Brodhead and a pcituresque horseshoe waterfall.  About half of the land is located in each township.

 

With funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the County’s Open Space fund, plus technical help from Pocono Heritage Land Trust, the acquisition is one of the largest single tracts of land acquired for open space in the County.

 

“This is such an important parcel of land,” said Reda Briglia, the Paradise Supervisor who spearheaded the project.  “It connects thousands of acres of Delaware State Forest in Price with public land and property that is protected by private landowners in Price and Paradise, creating an important preserve of contiguous land.”  The sellers, a New Jersey real estate development group headed by Richard Wellbrock, of Watchung, New Jersey, had originally offered the land for $4 million.  After three years of negotiations, the sale was completed for approximately $3.3 million.  Of that, $1.9 million came from funds remaining in the Monroe County Open Space funds, and $1.4 million came from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). 

 

Briglia explained that by protecting land along the Brodhead, downstream drinking water will be protected, too.  Building houses, as the New Jersey development group had originally intended, would create runoff from the newly added impervious surfaces, such as roads, garages, and roof tops, creating potential for many kinds of pollution in the Creek.  The Brodhead is a main source for drinking water distributed by the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority.  This action by Paradise and Price Townships protects the drinking water of more than 21,000 people in the Borough of Stroudsburg, a large part of Stroud Township and portions of Smithfield Township, Hamilton Township and Pocono Township.   According to the Regional Authority’s website, “Protecting our sources [is] the first step in providing quality drinking water.”

 

“Also, studies show that open space helps control property taxes, because new houses mean more new school students.  Protected natural lands also enhance property values for landowners throughout the area,” Briglia added.

 

Price and Paradise Townships are working on developing regulations for public use of the property, and to create trails and trailheads for public access. The property will be open to the public for passive recreation, such as hiking, birding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and picnicking, and for hunting and fishing.

 

A citizen’s group called the Upper Brodhead & Upper Paradise Greenway Committee plans to work with the Townships on trails that will link this property with existing greenway in Stroud Township and other conserved natural land in Paradise Township. 

 

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