Waterford, Pa. – Feb. 26 – French Creek winds its way through a 60-acre property, which in turn provides a forested buffer for the biologically diverse stream. And now this land will be permanently protected through a purchase by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The Conservancy announced today that it purchased a property in LeBoeuf Township, protecting wetland areas, a hemlock swamp and floodplain forest community along one of the most ecologically significant waterways in the northeastern United States. Because this stretch of French Creek features curves and oxbows, the property has about 4,470 feet of stream frontage.
WPC purchased the property from William A. Regensburger III, who chose to protect the land through the creation of a life estate. Regensburger, who has owned the property for about 15 years, will continue to live on the property and use it with certain restrictions during his lifetime.
“I’ve planted about 4,000 seedling trees on this property since I moved here because they help prevent and stop stream bank erosion,” Regensburger said. “I’m allowed to continue to plant seedlings and other native, non-invasive plants. That was an important addition to my agreement with the Conservancy.”
Life estate arrangements provide landowners the advantage of continuing to enjoy their land while having the assurance that the organization of their choice has accepted the land for permanent protection. When WPC has full ownership of the property, it will be open to the public and will be maintained and managed as a natural area.
“This is a wonderful arrangement because the Conservancy gains an exceptional property in a significant area,” said Thomas Saunders, WPC president and chief executive officer. “And because the deed was transferred to WPC during his lifetime, Mr. Regensburger gains the assurance that the land is protected by the organization of his choice.”
In addition to the meandering French Creek, Regensberger has seen evidence of a wide range of species living in the area, including turkey, deer and bear.
A bequest from the estate of Helen B. Katz, to be used for the protection of natural areas, supported this purchase.
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 235,000 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 about 12,500 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.