The Lebanon Valley Conservancy (TLVC) recently conserved a 16-acre farm in Union Township, owned by Albert Minnich. The farm, located next to Swatara State Park and a large campground, has been in Minnich’s family for 100 years. Conserving this property allows for a continuation of lands for recreation, open space, wildlife, and scenic views.
The Minnich farm is located in the Kittatinny Ridge, also known as the Blue Mountain. “This property has a mature wooded area that provides habitat for wildlife like deer and owls,” shared Courtney Reimann, land protection director for the Conservancy. “The farm is important for conservation in Lebanon County as it falls within the Kittatinny Ridge, a vital corridor for both wildlife and people.” According to Audubon Mid-Atlantic, the Kittatinny Ridge winds 185 miles through eastern and central Pennsylvania, to the Maryland line. It is designated as a globally Important Bird Area for many species of songbirds, raptors, and migratory birds, and is an integral part of the migratory path for monarch butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Minnich has many fond memories of living on the farm. “I remember when the area was mostly undeveloped and I would walk over the mountain with my friends to spend the day at Boxcar Rocks,” shared Minnich, referencing the natural rock formation off of Gold Mine Road in Cold Spring Township. He continued by explaining the increase in development he’s seen in Union Township over the last few years and his desire to ensure the farm would remain undeveloped. “As a land trust, we were able to protect this land and provide Mr. Minnich with peace of mind that the land would be preserved into the future,” added Reimann.
Along with Minnich’s partnership to preserve this land at the end of September, TLVC received a $10,000 donation from the Katherine J. Bishop Fund, a charitable fund of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities. “This generous gift will make it possible for us to better meet the needs of landowners seeking conservation, like Mr. Minnich,” shared Reimann, who noted that stewardship fees and legal defense of conservation easements are ongoing and come with an expense. TLVC will utilize these funds to support land preservation expenses as well as to increase its community education efforts. To date, TLVC has protected more than 1,000 acres of land in Lebanon County. For more information on TLVC and its preserved properties, please visit www.TLVC.org.
About the Lebanon Valley Conservancy Formed in 2000, TLVC’s mission is to promote the conservation of cultural, historical and natural resources through public awareness, education and land
preservation. TLVC works in cooperation with neighboring conservancies and trusts, as well as local and state governments, to protect and ensure equitable access to these valuable resources in the Lebanon Valley. To date, more than 1,000 acres of land have been preserved. Visit www.TLVC.org to donate, volunteer or become a member.