Open space easement protects Gallows Run Watershed
At the 2013 Art for Conservation Show, the Nockamixon Open Space Committee presented Julie and Jeff Thomas with a framed photograph of a particularly pastoral view of their property.
This was in gratitude for granting a conservation easement on nearly 36 acres of their land located within the Gallows Run Watershed. The committee also presented a winter-hardy shrub to Nancy Alessi and her husband, Richard Smolev, to thank them for making their barn available through the years as the venue for the art show in which the Open Space Committee partners with the Gallows Run Watershed Association and Heritage Conservancy.
The Thomas property is located in a corridor of preserved lands between Ferndale and Kintnersville. The corridor continues into Durham Township near the Delaware River. It is a largely agricultural landscape with bordering hedgerows and woodlands which provide habitats for numerous diverse wildlife. Following the slope down through the middle of the site are the wooded headwaters of two tributaries of the Gallows Run.
Situated on a hilltop one enjoys an extraordinary view of the wooded hillside and ridgeways, and the unobstructed views of the night sky from this land. Its preservation forever protects a view of the township’s past, present and future.
By agreeing to a bargain sale, in which the landowner receives only a portion of the appraised conservation easement value, Julie and Jeff Thomas permanently preserved their property, thereby helping to protect the environmentally important Highlands Region and the Gallows Run Watershed.
"This latest open space acquisition contains the headwaters of two tributaries of the Gallows Run, making its preservation an important component in the protection of the watershed and its water quality today and into the future,” said Todd Stone, president of the Gallows Run Watershed Association and Nockamixon Open Space Committee member.
Following its Open Space Review Board recommendation, Bucks County funded 75 percent of the easement purchase through its Municipal Open Space Program. Nockamixon Township funded part of the easement through its Open Space Program by using referendum-issued Earned Income Tax receipts intended for that purpose. Heritage Conservancy will provide stewardship of the property in perpetuity.
Julie Thomas grew up on the farm and inherited it from her father, the late Frederick Christman, who purchased it in 1940 and made it the family home. Julie and Jeff Thomas later made it their mission to carry out the preservation in her father’s name after his death.
With the completion of the Thomas easement, almost 750 acres of property in the Gallows Run Watershed are preserved within Nockamixon and Durham Townships through the cooperation of Bucks County, Heritage Conservancy, local governments and landowners.
"I feel really good knowing it is protected for future generations,” said Julie Thomas. “The Open Space Committee supported us through this process so that it went smoothly. I hope that more people use the committee as a resource to preserve their property."
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