Natural Lands and Berks Nature announced the successful preservation of two parcels totaling 60 acres in Cumru Township, Berks County.

CUMRU TOWNSHIP — Natural Lands and Berks Nature announced the successful preservation of two parcels totaling 60 acres in Cumru Township, Berks County.

Immediately after purchasing the wooded properties, Natural Lands transferred ownership to the PA Bureau of State Parks as additions to the 665-acre Nolde Forest.

In 1904 Jacob Nolde, a German immigrant who’d made his fortune in the hosiery business, purchased 500 acres of land just south of Reading and built a home there for his family. The land had been stripped of trees to make charcoal at the nearby iron furnaces; there was only a single white pine left standing when Nolde bought the property. By the time of his unexpected death 12 years later, more than half-a-million conifers had been planted at Nolde’s direction.

The Commonwealth acquired Nolde Forest in the 1960s. The Environmental Education Center was established in 1970, the first such center to be owned and operated by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“The two additions to the State Park’s holdings are extraordinary — they represent the only expansion of the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center since the park was created in 1966,” said of PA DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “In the spirit of Jacob Nolde, this land will be open to visitors to explore and enjoy.”

The newly acquired parcels — a 55-acre property along the western border of Nolde Forest and a 5-acre property along the southern border — are high-quality mature woodlands. Once at risk of development, these lands are now preserved forever.

“Natural Lands, in partnership with Berks Nature, is thrilled to facilitate this project and add another 60 acres to Nolde Forest,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands. “Over the past six decades Natural Lands has acquired and transferred hundreds of acres to Pennsylvania’s state parks. In doing so, the land is preserved, the wildlife and plants are protected, and residents are given greater opportunities to connect with nature.”

“Berks Nature is glad to participate in the expansion of the land, wildlife habitat, and water resources of Nolde Forest, which benefits the water quality and quantity of our shared Angelica Creek watershed,” said Larry Lloyd, senior ecologist with Berks Nature.

Natural Lands received funding for the land purchase from the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Highlands Conservation Act. The Highlands Conservation Act authorizes the Department of the Interior to provide federal matching grants to support the agencies in purchasing land, or an interest in land, from willing sellers. Congress appropriates funding annually under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

More information about Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center can be found here:

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