Last month, Lower Saucon Township announced the purchase of 35 acres in the Northampton Highlands, part of the federally designated Pennsylvania Highlands.
The purchase of the mostly wooded property is a joint project with adjacent Springfield Township, Bucks County. Half of the funding for the acquisition came from the federal Highlands Conservation Act, administered by PA DCNR. The townships also contributed to the purchase through their open space funds. The property is located at 2540 Martins Lane, Hellertown. The tract contains the headwaters for Cooks Creek, the region’s largest creek, an important cold water fishery, and a critical treasure of the Pennsylvania Highlands.
The Highlands Conservation Act
The Pennsylvania Highlands were designated through Congress’s Highlands Conservation Act passed in 2004. In 2014, Congress failed to re-authorize the Highlands Conservation Act and it has expired. However, the Highlands Conservation Act is currently up for re-authorization, with bills introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (HR 1281), and in the Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (S.1627). These bills would provide $10 million annually in appropriations to be divided among the four Highlands states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In PA, the funds then are distributed by DCNR to support conservation projects like the Northampton Highlands acquisition. To read more about this important acquisition, visit this link.
Map: The extent of the Northampton Highlands in Northampton and Bucks Counties