York County Open Space program preserves 3,495 acres

Additional 392 acres preserved through grants in 2020

 The York County Open Space and Land Preservation Program with the collaboration of its partner agencies preserved more than 3,500 acres of land in 2020. This surpassed the program’s annual goal of 2,500 acres.

Those partner agencies, the York County Farm & Natural Lands Trust secured 1,179 and the county’s Ag Land Preservation Board secured 1,507 acres last year. An additional 809 acres, including municipal parks, other non-profit purchased lands, and lands dedicated through the subdivision process, were also protected. The County’s grant program also provided matching funds to protect an additional 392

acres. The York County Conservation District and County Parks Department also received funding to support open space protection and future land acquisitions.

The county’s open space program began in 2019 when the previous Board of Commissioners approved a tenth-of-a-mill tax dedicated to fund land preservation of natural resources or valuable agricultural properties worthy of protection.

Two projects – a 6.7-acre parcel ($42,428) for a community park in Spring Grove and 270 acres ($100,000) in Lower Chanceford Township, York County, for the Lancaster Conservancy – show the diversity of the grants. Other projects funded through the matching grants program include:

  • Susquehanna National Heritage Area – $100,000 to preserve 67 acres for the Susquehanna Discovery Center, a future park and nature preserve in Hellam Township
  • York County Rail Trail Authority – $55,380 to preserve 8.5 miles of rail line to advance the Hanover Trolley Line on either side of Spring Grove Borough
  • West Manheim Township – $14,544 to update its 2005-era comprehensive plan related to parks, recreation and open space
  • Dover Township and Dover Borough – – $35,000 for Dover Regional Comprehensive Parks, Recreation & Open Space Plan to study open space potential for both communities as part of a joint comprehensive plan

Another application round for open space grant funding will be announced this summer. For more information on the grants program or to view the full annual report, please visit yorkopenspace.org.