WPC Protects Farmland at Headwaters of Tubmill Creek

Wed, Dec 19th 2012, 13:54. Filed under News Releases.

Bolivar, Pa. – Dec. 19 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected, through an agricultural easement, more than 37 acres of farmland at the headwaters of a notable Westmoreland County creek.

The Fairfield Township property sits at the headwaters of Tubmill Creek, which has been identified as a priority watershed because of the rich aquatic life in the stream. The land, which has been continuously farmed by the same family since the early 19th century, falls within the Laurel Highlands, where WPC has protected more than 80,000 acres of land.

An agricultural easement is a voluntary agreement with landowners that keeps property in private hands – in this case, siblings William E. Wilt, Tim H. Wilt and Joan A. Ahlers – while permanently restricting future uses. The owners, who inherited the farmland, wish for it to permanently be an agricultural or natural area, said William Wilt.

“We don’t want to see the land broken up; we want to keep it together,” he said. “We’re trying to hold on to a beautiful piece of land and keep it that way.”

The agricultural easement will limit subdivision and the building of additional structures. It also will restrict future commercial activities to farming, forestry or farming-related businesses only, thus conserving prime agricultural soils and protecting a historically and culturally significant Ligonier Valley farm.

“This project will help protect the water quality in the Tubmill Creek watershed and conserve open space in the Ligonier Valley and the Laurel Highlands,” said Conservancy President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas D. Saunders. “This is part of WPC’s ongoing effort to secure agricultural easements in the area.”

Colcom Foundation, the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided financial support for this project, which closed last month.

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Photos have been made available for media use at: http://goo.gl/QN4UH

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 233,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 135 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 13,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:
Allison Schlesinger
412-586-2358 (office)
412-607-1945 (cell)
aschlesinger@paconserve.org