BENTON TWP. — Countryside Conservancy recently announced the acquisition of its single largest property to date: the Gardner Spencer Preserve.
After years of discussions, negotiations, grant-writing and fundraising, the Conservancy was finally able to purchase the 82-acre property in December. Grant funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ recreation and conservation grant program helped with the purchase. Matching funds for the grant were provided by local foundations and more than 20 individual supporters of the Conservancy.
Also integral to the acquisition was the strong commitment to conservation by the seller Patricia Gardner and her willingness to significantly discount the sales price.
“This beautiful property fills in a substantial gap in the protected footprint of Lackawanna State Park and Countryside Conservancy’s lands,” Countryside Conservancy’s Executive Director Bill Kern wrote in a news release. “Having worked for more than four years with Pat Gardner, my Board of Directors and Atty. Kim Kost Scanlon, it feels good to finally have assurance that this land will be permanently protected from development.”
The preserve adjoins the Conservancy’s 34-acre Ziegler Preserve, as well as Lackawanna State Park. The property features bucolic fields, mature hemlock groves and a babbling brook.
To access the preserve, park at the Ziegler Preserve trailhead on Route 438, one mile east of the Route 407 intersection. Trails are currently under development, so the Conservancy recommends waiting for their completion before exploring. For more information and a map of the property, visit countrysideconservancy.org.