Several hundred people are expected to turn out for the first public tours of Delaware Wild Lands’ (DWL) newest acquisition: the 1,250-acre Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm. This family-friendly event is free, but pre-registration is requested. The public is invited to a Celebration & Open House on Saturday, May 7 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Activities will include hayrides with expansive marsh views, and guided walking tours around the farm. Canoe tours on Blackbird Creek will be available with volunteers from the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR).
Food trucks will include B&K Catering and J’s Scoop Shop. A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce will take place at 12:00 noon. The Celebration & Open House activities will be set up at 170 Staves Landing Road, Townsend, DE. This small rural road leading to the farmstead intersects with Route 9 near the Odessa National Golf Course. Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm was purchased in October with private funding in an exceptional partnership with The Conservation Fund and Mt. Cuba Center. With this acquisition, Delaware
Wild Lands (DWL) now owns and manages more than 6,000 acres in New Castle County and a total of 21,000 acres statewide. For more than 50 years, DWL has been strategically protecting land in and around Taylors Bridge. In the heart of Delaware’s coastal zone, and with development pressure encroaching, the Roberts Farm was once slated for a development of 250 single-family homes. Protecting this 1,250-acre property expands DWL’s holdings and also connects to the state-owned Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area, creating more than 10,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat.
The lands and waters that surround Taylors Bridge are a vibrant mix of coastal woodlands, freshwater ponds, working farmland, rolling fields and high quality tidal marshes. Many species of wildlife thrive here including Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, Quail, migratory birds, and even otter and mink. The Roberts Farm is well-known as a haven for waterfowl such as Ring-necked Duck,
American Black Duck, Pintail, Teal, Mallards, Gadwall, Wood Duck, and Northern Shoveler. DWL is committed to ensure that the property continues to be environmentally and economically productive. Long-term management plans include farming, hunting, trapping and scheduled tours. A public trail system won’t be constructed, but school groups and scientists have already started using the property for education and research projects. “Many people are not aware how significant the Taylors Bridge area is to conservation history,” said Kate Hackett, Executive Director of Delaware Wild Lands.
“Protection of the Roberts Farm represents an extension of Delaware Wild Lands’ success in preventing the construction of a Shell Oil Refinery – an effort that ultimately led to passage of Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act of 1971. “The Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm includes some of Delaware’s most pristine upland and coastal resources that are critical to air and water quality in the Bayshores region,” Hackett continued. “Now that it’s protected forever, Delaware Wild Lands is excited about our Open House Celebration on May 7 as our first opportunity to welcome the community and showcase the farm’s iconic beauty and natural splendor.”
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