Tuesday, April 18, 2017
NorCo Signs Wildlands Conservancy For Its Open Space Program
The County Parks and Recreation Division manages 18 parks and conservation lands encompassing more then 2,000 acres of green space. Highlighted by the 100-acre Louise W. Moore Park to the 1,200-acre cooperative conservation area surrounding Minsi Lake and the five-mile NorBath Trail, the County has a wealth of resources that can be enhanced for public recreational opportunities. "Of great importance, Wildlands Conservancy will assist in the identification of sensitive environmental areas, and provide guidance on how to best develop public access through trails and environmental education programs," stated Gordon Heller, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation.
In the past five years, Northampton County's Open Space Program has become a leader in the fields of land protection, environmental restoration and trail development. The Open Space Program has assisted funding the preservation of early 1,850 acres in open space protection and environmental restoration projects, and over 50 municipal park rehabilitation, development and acquisition projects. The County's land and water trail systems equal nearly 300 miles, with the imminent closure of regional trail gaps, allowing Northampton County to become a major hub for 100+ mile trail systems along the East Coast of the United States.
The Open Space Program recently enrolled Northampton County into the Scenic, Wild Delaware River Geotourism Program (www.scenicwilddelawareriver.com), a nine-county regional tourism effort to highlight outdoor recreation, local towns and small businesses along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The Geotourism Program is one of 25 internationally that are sponsored by National Geographic.
"The ability to utilize the resources of Wildlands Conservancy will ensure that our parks and natural resources will continue to be utilized in a sustainable manner for recreation and tourism efforts for years to come," said Bryan Cope, Open Space Coordinator and Chair of the Scenic Wild Delaware River Geotourism Stewardship Council.
The Emmaus-based Wildlands Conservancy, whose mission is to protect and restore critical natural areas and waterways within the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River watershed, has protected more than 54,000 acres of open space, and educated more than 350,000 people since 1973. "The Lehigh and Delaware Rivers and their tributaries, the backdrop of Blue Mountain, Working farmlands, numerous nature preserves and area parks are among the special natural features that help define Northampton County's unique sense of place," remarked Chris Kocher, Wildlands Conservancy's president. "Our partnership will build upon our shared successes to ensure conservation and environmental education are among the top priorities of the people who call Northampton County home."
Wildlands Conservancy is currently working with the County to develop a state grant application to address environmental restoration needs at the county-owned Archibald Johnston Conservation Area in Bethlehem Township, and developing plans to naturalize areas in select county parks for wildlife habitat, water quality improvement and public enjoyment.
To find out more about these community partnership outreach programs and other Wildlands Conservancy programs, or to register for one, log onto www.wildlandspa.org/events or call 610.965.4397, ext. 136. For more information on Northampton County Parks, call Jim Wilson, Northampton County Parks Recreation Specialist, at 610.829.6404 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blogger's Note: I'm deeply concerned by the land preservation boards in several municipalities that seem more intent on preserving their own properties than doing what is best for the county. At this point, I'dlike to know whether the County is paying The Wildlands. This news release comes from Administrator Cathy Allen.