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