East Earl Township, Lancaster County
Funding partners: PA DCNR, Ressler Mill Foundation, Lancaster County Community Foundation, Welsh Mountain Fund (with contributions from Caernarvon, East Earl, and Salisbury Townships; Chester County Solid Waste Authority; and private donors), and the Penns Woods Fund
In 2008, the Conservancy purchased the first of 7 tracts that make up what is now our largest nature preserve. Known as the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve, the last expansion of this 917 acre property occurred in 2016. We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of a completely forested 23 acre addition, increasing the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve to 940 beautiful acres. This land sits in the Pennsylvania Highlands region, part of the federally-recognized Highlands greenbelt.
The Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve has a unique history among Conservancy preserves. When the Conservancy began acquiring the first tracts in this Preserve the financial crisis occurred, and we found ourselves needing to raise over a half a million dollars in lost grant funds. We were delighted to find a community eager to support our work and help fill in the gaps. With our partners, we formed the Welsh Mountain Committee, which continues to oversee stewardship and land acquisition projects at Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve, provide input, and raise funds for various projects at the Preserve. Members include Caernarvon and East Earl Township Supervisors, the Mayor of New Holland Borough, local business, civic leaders, and private donors. Local donors and East Earl Township staff contributed to the development of and continue to help maintain a multi-use parking lot that can accommodate school buses, accessible vehicles, buggies, and horse trailers. Thanks to East Earl Roads Department, the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve contains the Conservancy’s only accessible trail compliant with ADA standards and includes other multi-use trails. Maintaining this contiguous forest is crucial to the protection of air and water quality, native habitat, and public recreation. The Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve is truly a project completed by the community, for the community.