The Chester County Planning Commission tracks and reports the acreage of permanently protected open space within the county each year – including farmland, nature preserves and parks – through its Protected Open Space Tracking System (POST).
While there were many uncertainties throughout 2020, one thing that remained consistent is the county’s commitment to open space preservation. This past year, the POST findings indicated an addition of 2,100 acres protected in 2020 – bringing Chester County’s total to 144,000 acres, or 29.7% of the county’s total land protected. More acres were preserved in 2020 than in each of the previous two years, which is a significant accomplishment given the administrative and technological hurdles the pandemic caused.
Of these 2,100 acres, 600 acres on 20 farms were preserved through the county’s Agricultural Preservation Program, and land trust partners preserved over 380 acres using conservation easements.
These findings were recently presented at the county’s 2021 Open Space Summit, which took place on April 29, via Zoom, and was widely attended. See the follow up.
Depending on the size and location, protected open space can add significant value to nearby homes and businesses by providing a healthy amount of outdoor recreational benefits and activities, and by helping local governments and school districts avoid higher costs of services that would otherwise be required if the land was developed. Protected open space also promotes naturally occurring environmental processes – such as flood mitigation and wildlife habitats – that would be costly to replace. See the Return on Environment report.
Chester County’s protected open space is a testament to the coordinated efforts between county leadership, municipalities, nonprofit partners, local organizations, and many supportive citizens. The Planning Commission continues to recognize open space preservation as a high priority, which is indicated in the county’s comprehensive plan, Landscapes3.
To learn more about the county’s POST information, visit https://www.chescoplanning.org/OpenSpace/POST.cfm.