PEC do­nates land to the park

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE -

Shenan­doah Na­tional Park just grew a lit­tle big­ger and a lit­tle more beau­ti­ful.

This past May, the Pied­mont En­vi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil do­nated a 17.2-acre prop­erty it owned in Rap­pa­han­nock County to the Na­tional Park Ser­vice. A forested and va­cant

par­cel on a moun­tain slope south of Sper­ryville, the land is within the leg­isla­tive bound­ary of Shenan­doah Na­tional Park.

“The prop­erty is sur­rounded by the park on three of its four sides, so it was a key puz­zle piece,” said Carolyn Sedg­wick, PEC’s Rap­pa­han­nock County land con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer, who over­saw the do­na­tion from PEC to the park ser­vice with le­gal as­sis­tance from Rap­pa­han­nock-based at­tor­ney Tim Lind­strom. “This great pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice has re­sulted in the ex­pan­sion of one of the most im­por­tant wildlife cor­ri­dors on the east coast.”

The do­nated acreage is by an area in the na­tional park des­ig­nated as fed­eral wilder­ness — the high­est con­ser­va­tion des­ig­na­tion for fed­eral land — mak­ing it an im­por­tant and strate­gic area to con­serve.

“This prop­erty is a won­der­ful ad­di­tion to the park, and we are grate­ful to PEC and the fam­ily [who orig­i­nally owned the land] for want­ing to see this prop­erty pro­tected as part of Shenan­doah Na­tional Park,” said park su­per­in­ten­dent Jim Northup.

PEC was ap­proached about the op­por­tu­nity in 2012 when the for­mer own­ers de­cided they wanted their prop­erty to be part of the na­tional park. The land was then pur­chased by PEC at a sig­nif­i­cant “bar­gain sale” from the own­ers, thanks to funds raised lo­cally through PEC’s Kreb­ser Fund for Rap­pa­han­nock County Con­ser­va­tion.

The Kreb­ser Fund, a fund PEC man­ages specif­i­cally for Rap­pa­han­nock con­ser­va­tion projects, has a lo­cal ad­vi­sory board com­posed of county res­i­dents who work with PEC to iden­tify projects of high con­ser­va­tion pri­or­ity and help raise funds for ad­di­tional projects.

“The Kreb­ser Fund is ex­cited to see this deal com­pleted and to have such a strate­gic and im­por­tant par­cel added to Shenan­doah Na­tional Park,” said Nick Lapham, chair of the Kreb­ser Fund ad­vi­sory board. “The project is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how the fund can flex­i­bly de­ploy its re­sources to as­sist will­ing par­ties in com­plet­ing con­ser­va­tion deals for the ben­e­fit of Rap­pa­han­nock and the pub­lic at large.”

Now that the prop­erty is of­fi­cially part of Shenan­doah Na­tional Park, “PEC hopes to work with the Park Ser­vice on pur­su­ing fed­eral wilder­ness des­ig­na­tion for the area,” said Sedg­wick. “Such des­ig­na­tion re­quires an act of Congress.”

BY JONATHAN MARQUISEE

PEC’s Carolyn Sedg­wick at the Sper­ryville prop­erty newly do­nated to Shenan­doah Na­tional Park.

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