When it comes to protected open space in Chester County, one thing is certain: It’s a priority for county officials to maintain it for future generations.
Since 2000, the Planning Commission has collected information summarizing the amount of open space protected in Chester County each year. This information is gathered from municipalities, land trusts, and various other state and county agencies. It is then mapped using the county’s Protected Open Space Tracking (POST) system, a web-based database and mapping program.
Based on the POST findings released in April, a total of 136,020 acres of protected open space, which accounts for 28 percent of the county, was preserved as of Dec. 31, 2017. An estimated 4,240 acres of open space were protected during 2017—more than double the amount preserved the previous year. This was the largest annual increase in open space since 2009.
One of the key findings of the report was that in 2017 county-funded Agricultural Conservation Easements accounted for over 1,300 acres of protected open space. Furthermore, more than 1,000 acres were protected due to the preservation of the large Bryn Coed Estate located in West Vincent, West Pikeland, and East Pikeland townships and parts of the Strawbridge property near the Maryland border. The state parks system expanded its holding by over 250 acres and the county park system expanded by over 210 acres with a major addition adjacent to Hibernia Park.
(Photo courtesy Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation)