Recently, the Land Conservancy of Adams County and Boyer Nurseries and Orchards joined forces to preserve a property that is important both locally and regionally.
Thanks to a grant from the American Rivers-EPA Highlands Implementation Grant Program, the conservancy purchased a conservation easement from the Boyer family on 135 acres of forestland.
Funds also came from the Adams County Commissioners. The land belongs to Boyer Nurseries & Orchards and is adjacent to more than 800 acres that are already preserved.
The Boyer family is working with the Land Conservancy to protect an additional 840 acres of orchard, nursery and woodlands using an award from the USDA’s Farm and Ranchland Program.
The Highlands Implementation Grant Program is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Highlands Action Program, established in 2006 to protect 79,000 square miles of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Emma Lower, a member of the fifth generation of the Boyer family, said at the ceremony announcing the conservation easement, “Members of the third and fourth generations are still involved. It’s exciting, and I’m very pleased to preserve our land for future generations and keep the business going.”
Two of the reasons why the Boyer property is so important are its location within the Adams County Fruit Belt near Michaux State Forest, and the presence of the headwaters of Marsh Creek. The Fruit Belt consists of a 4- to 6-mile wide swath of land along the eastern slope of South Mountain, and is in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
Locally, Marsh Creek is important because it is a principal source of drinking water for the Gettysburg area.
Regionally, Marsh Creek flows into the Potomac River, referred to as the Nation’s River, which is important to the lives of more than 5 million people who live in the Potomac River Basin. From there, its waters enter the Chesapeake Bay.
Source: Land Conservancy of Adams County.