Rockland property that served as an entryway to the northern Delaware trail system along the Brandywine Creek has become public land.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control joined forces with the Woodlawn Trustees to buy the private property along Rockland Falls Road.
It has been preserved through the Delaware Open Space Program, which means it can’t be used for development.
The purchase guarantees uninterrupted public access to the trail, DNREC said in a press release.
DNREC did not respond to a question about how much was paid for the land
Brandywine Creek hiking
The acquisition adds 2.27 acres to the 407-acre forest block already preserved on east side of the Brandywine River and expands Brandywine Creek State Park to a total of 894 acres, the press release said.
Protecting the woods also eliminates the risk of disruption for views such as the scenic Hawk Watch vista, the release said.
“This critical land acquisition is one of the last land holdings in the core of Brandywine Creek State Park that could have been developed. It eliminates vehicle access and the ability for structures to be built along a popular trail,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.
He said land stewardship is at the heart of the work that DNREC and the Woodlawn Trustees do.
Woodlawn Trustees President and CEO Richard T. Przywara said the organization’s work with DNREC illustrates how they partner for the benefit of natural resources.
“This project enlarges and strengthens our shared vision of providing access to open space for hiking, cycling and horseback riding,” he said.
As part of the purchase, Woodlawn Trustees will contribute $10,000 to the Brandywine Creek State Park Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation. That fund was created in 1981 after the Woodlawn Trustees donated 125 acres of land to DNREC and the state used matching federal month to buy the rest of the 350-acre parcel.
The after-tax proceeds of the sale totaled $530,000, which Woodlawn Trustees used to create the Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund, a permanent endowment for the park.
The Division of Parks and Recreation has utilized the fund, which was transferred to the Delaware Community Foundation in 2019, to support park operations, maintenance and security.
That funding accounts for about 1/3 of the park’s annual operating budget each year, the press release said.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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