Staircase Ridge
Staircase Ridge

Protecting Rural Places in Pike County


[div id=key-value-images]

natural habitatwaterhikers


Pike County’s Scenic Rural Character Preservation (SRCP) bond fund contributed to the protection of the 708-acre Polatnick property in Westfall Township. The property is a heavily forested ridgeline parcel with pockets of wetlands and the headwaters for Mill Rift Creek.

SRCP bond funds contributed $1,304,392 to state funds allocated through PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to enable the state to purchase the land and protect it with a conservation easement. The property is an invaluable contribution to Pike County’s green space and to the maintenance of its scenic rural character, helping to protect wildlife habitats and water resources, and providing outdoor recreational opportunities.

The easement specifies that the state owning the land will manage and maintain it to provide for natural resource protection and public recreational access. State ownership of the property removes the burden of management from the County, though the County, as per the terms of the easement, has a voice in the development of state plans. The County will also oversee state management and maintains the power to implement its own plans should the state not adequately care for the property.

Pike Gettiing GreenerIts permanent protection creates a contiguous green corridor known as Stairway Ridge that provides vital protection for wildlife habitats and freshwater resources. The parcel sits adjacent to state land and the Slatestone Hunt Club. The western edge of the property that meets current state lands contains a section of Mill Rift (Bushkill) Creek designated a Class A wild trout stream. With the trail that will be created through this parcel, county residents eager to enjoy Pike’s beautiful woodland landscapes can hike from Milford Beach through Grey Towers, the Milford Experimental Forest, and the County Park, ending on the Polatnick property, which will now be within the Buckhorn tract of the Delaware State Forest.

“Priority parcels like this one that protect our flora and fauna and our waters and add to the County’s outdoor recreational opportunities are too valuable to lose to development,” states Conservancy Executive Director Sue Currier. “Protecting Polatnick is the perfect example of the Scenic Rural Character bond funds at work.”

The Conservancy will hold and monitor the easement to assure the maintenance of the property’s conservation value for now and future generations.