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Nature Needs the Room


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I said, whatever amount of money you have, it’s going to cost you a dollar more. There’s no way that we’re selling this.Michael & Carol Schneider, Owners

It was this love for the land that led Michael and Carol Schneider to protect their seventeen acres on Hornbecks Creek in Pike County, PA—a direct tributary of the Delaware River, the source of clean drinking water for millions. This special property features a beautiful waterfall, a historic stone mill, and exceptional conservation value.

But it was just a matter of chance that Mike and Carol discovered their land—it wasn’t even for sale yet when they were introduced to it in 1995.

The property is just up the road from Child’s Park and near Fernwood Resort where they took their children on vacation for more than twenty years when they were growing up in New Jersey. When their daughter was finishing high school, they decided they wanted to buy land in Pennsylvania in this region they had always loved.

The realtor they were supposed to meet with that day was unavailable, and so they met with someone else who just happened to know that this special property was soon going to be on the market.

“It was during a drought, but you could see where the waterfall was, and we knew at that moment we wanted to purchase it,” Mike explains.

Protecting the land that they love

Now, almost twenty years after purchasing their land, they’ve decided to protect it forever with a conservation easement held by the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, knowing that their two children, six grandchildren, and future generations of their family will always be able to enjoy the property.

Mike had attended a township meeting where he saw a presentation from the Conservancy and learned that another parcel down the road was being protected. Knowing that he never wanted his land to be developed—and with a reverence for nature based on years of camping in the Catskills—he realized an easement could help him meet his goals for the land. As he explains, “I’d thought about it for many years—we never purchased the property to make money. We purchased it because it was beautiful and we love it. I always think of a great grandchild being able to come and use it rather than thinking that someone sold it.”

The Schneiders hope to preserve the old mill, made of stone imported from Italy, as well as continue to maintain their healthy forest and plant trees. “You can never have enough trees,” Mike explains. “Development is happening around us, so let’s make sure there are places left undeveloped. Animals need the room, trees need the room. Nature needs the room.”

They are also planning to fence in an area to create a butterfly garden. For Carol, protecting habitat for wildlife is especially important. She loves to look out the window and see deer, rabbits, or even bears in the backyard. As she explains, “We’re infringing on their natural habitat, so whatever little bit can be protected, should be protected, because there won’t be anything left for them. They were there first.”

“We believe in the environment and mother nature. We’re just doing this because this is what we feel, to preserve the land, leave it as open space, for the animals, for the environment. To us, this was extremely important.”