Now that it has been announced, I can say that I have known for a few years that Natural Lands Trust was working on saving Bryn Coed. I was asked to not say anything, so into the proverbial vault it went. But I can’t say it is untrue that developers were sniffing around Bryn Coed’s 1500+ acres can I ? After all, it is a magical piece of land that is almost mythical, isn’t it?
Here is the official press release:
Media, Pa. – Natural Lands Trust announced today a major milestone in the non-profit land conservation organization’s effort to preserve 1,505 acres in northern Chester County known as Bryn Coed Farms.
On September 28, 2016, Natural Lands Trust and the current property owners, the Dietrich family, executed an Agreement of Sale for the property. Natural Lands Trust now has six months to conduct due diligence, including Phase II environmental testing.
The fate of the property has been the subject of much speculation over the years as development pressures have increased in the region. Located primarily in West Vincent Township, Chester County, with portions also in East and West Pikeland Townships, the property is one of the largest remaining undeveloped, unprotected tracts of land in the Greater Philadelphia region. Under current zoning, nearly 700 homes could be built on the property if it is not placed under protection.
Natural Lands Trust has been working with the Dietrichs for more than five years to conserve the land.
“It is too early to celebrate, but we are optimistic that much of this iconic property can be conserved,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “It’s a complex deal with many moving parts, but Bryn Coed is certainly worth fighting to save. It’s a community and ecological treasure.”
If successful, the deal would result in a 400-plus-acre nature preserve with eight miles of hiking trails that will be owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust. The preserve will be open to visitors, free of charge, just like other nature preserves owned by the regional conservation group—including the 112-acre Binky Lee Preserve in nearby Chester Springs. In addition, West Vincent Township is considering Natural Lands Trust’s offer to establish a 72-acre municipal park on the property.
The remainder of the property would be divided into large conservation properties, preserved by conservation easements, and sold to private individuals.
“The amount of land that can be permanently protected as a Natural Lands Trust preserve is dependent on the amount of funding we can raise. The cost of preserving the entirety of such a vast and valuable property is beyond the currently available resources. We will be seeking support from the public in the weeks and months ahead,” Morrison added.
In 2003, the Dietrich brothers decided to divest themselves of the property. Various conservation and development options were explored but never came to a successful conclusion.
In recent years, several developers have been in negotiations with the Deitrichs, including Toll Brothers, which had proposed a 254-unit development on about one-quarter of the property.
Much of the property is actively farmed or in pasture. There are nearly 500 acres of mature woodlands on the property that are home to a myriad of songbirds and other wildlife. Generations of residents and visitors have enjoyed the pastoral views of Bryn Coed Farms.
The land also contains the headwaters to Pickering Creek, and is a high priority for source water protection. Bryn Coed Farms alone constitutes 17 percent of the remaining unprotected high-priority land in the Pickering Creek watershed.
Persons interested in receiving more information as the Bryn Coed Farms conservation effort progresses are invited to visit www.natlands.org/bryncoed and sign up for email updates. Those interested in learning more about the conservation properties that will be available for sale should contact Brian Sundermeir, Bryn Coed project manager, at 610-353-5587, ext. 237.
Natural Lands Trust is the region’s largest land conservation organization and is dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Since its founding in 1953, Natural Lands Trust has preserved more than 100,000 acres, including 43 nature preserves totaling nearly 22,000 acres. Today, some 2.5 million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. For more information, visit www.natlands.org.
So, this is not yet quite a done deal. There are three municipalities and a lot of due diligence and environmental testing. From what I am reading, not all of the land will be conserved (it’s a little unclear) , but one can hope and no matter what this is a heck of a lot more than anyone expected.
As I understand it, The NLT-owned preserve will be a “big chunk ” of Bryn Coed. The remainder will be large conservation lots with easements on them and trail easements as well. The size of the preserve can grow if Natural Lands Trust gets more money towards the project.
To David Robinson and his family who own Crebilly, why can’t you look at something like this? You can afford to.
Ok I just wanted to put this out there as some thought my post from the other evening was fabricated. I do my homework, and it doesn’t get much more official than the press release from Natural Lands Trust. And this is THEIR hard work and no one else’s (because I know some who will try to take credit, and well it is not theirs to take.)
BRAVO NLT! This is why I am a member and big believer in the Natural Lands Trust, they do not just talk the talk, they walk the walk. (Brian O’Leary and the Chester County Planning Commission could learn something here, just saying.)
I am a member of Natural Lands Trust, and proudly so. Please consider a membership. This is me asking incidentally, not them. Go out and enjoy the glorious weekend this weekend. This surely is an awesome way to start it!