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Nurturing Nature with Big Moves for Land and Climate Protection

Over the years we’ve discovered so many wonderful places – both well-known and lesser-known – throughout the beautiful state of Delaware, which is one reason we’ll never run out of topics to write about on this blog. Right now, a lot of us in the real estate business are often drawn to what’s happening downstate in Sussex County.

The beach season is one reason, because our shoreline communities are brimming with happiness as the summer dawns, with locals putting out the welcome mats for their families and friends and so many people booking summer rentals or buying their dream homes within an easy drive or bike ride to the ocean.

That’s great news if you love the beach, and all of the activities nearby. Yet there are certain downsides that a lot of people are feeling right now. Lots more traffic on major highways like Route 1. Greater competition for home buyers searching in the most highly desired communities. And plenty of angst over certain things that tend to happen as those communities are built:

The uprooting of trees.

The construction of new roads that invariably slow traffic.

The fears that the natural habitats we cherish will eventually be lost because so many people want to live here.

Fortunately, there’s some strikingly good news for folks who are worried about all of this happening here in Sussex County. During the past 10 days there were a series of announcements about major steps being taken to protect and preserve some of the most beautiful land in southern Delaware – land that’s publicly accessible or soon will be, giving us an easy option for nature breaks year-round.

A vast forest leading to the Broadkill Preserve . . . 

On May 10 the Sussex County Land Trust announced a partnership to preserve more than 300 acres on both sides of the county as open space. The most dramatic impact will be 294 acres known as the Forest of the Broadkill Preserve. This is exciting for a couple of reasons. One is the property itself, which is full of tall and mature trees that create a forest that fosters fresh air, gorgeous views and natural habitats filled with wildlife.

The second benefit is the area’s proximity to the Broadkill Beach community and the Great Marsh, a 17,000-acre coastal wetland located at the convergence of Delaware Bay and the Broadkill River. Now, instead of being razed, or partially razed, for more housing for folks who want to live close to those wetlands, it’s going to be preserved, with miles of walking and biking trails for the public. That’s going to create yet another great place for recreation, bird-watching and peaceful vistas. It’s also going to protect against inland erosion and provide a useful barrier to harbor the marshland.

I also love the way it happened, with the owners of the property being well-compensated, and the impressive leadership of the Land Trust and our local elected and responsive government leaders working together to make it happen.

Sharing the love on the Nanticoke . . .

The other area is a picturesque site on the Nanticoke River east of Seaford, on the western edge of Sussex County. It combines 11 acres of wooded land that will also be protected and managed by the Nanticoke Conservancy. The public will also be allowed to enjoy the land after some adjustments are made – most likely the creation of more walking and biking trails.

Sussex County Land Trust CEO Mark Chura shared lots of great news in announcing the protection of both places, including the raising of nearly $4 million during the past year or so from individual and corporate donors, nonprofit organizations and the public sector. As you’ll see if you click on the link, he also credited the collaboration with Sussex county officials, who are clearly listening to voters who want to see these natural habitats protected. 

Make sure you click on the story to learn about other land trust projects, including Hudson Park at the intersection of Route 9 and Cool Spring Road near Lewes, and the Hopkins Preserve, an admirable project that will preserve 52 acres for public recreation adjacent to the Hopkins Farm and the Lewes-to-Georgetown trail in Lewes.

This is one of several posts we’ll do about conservation efforts, including a big one to protect our beloved Cape Henlopen State Park. I hope you can check back next week for details!

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