Bridgeton Township, with the invaluable help of the Tinicum Conservancy, completed the purchase of the 103 acre Casillio property for environmental conservation and recreation last Tuesday, April 9th. The property, north of Bridgeton Hill Road and west of State Rt. 32, is a defunct quarry that has been abandoned for almost fifty years.
“The site is framed by the dramatic and rugged palisades to the west and the Delaware River bottom lands to the east,” said the Tinicum Conservancy on a Facebook post announcing the township’s purchase. “Abandoned for more than 40 years, it has become a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife, including otter, coyotes, frogs, salamander and reptiles. Small ponds — remnants of the original sand and gravel pits — dot the property.”
The roughly $600,000 purchase price was made available primarily through
grant funding from the Bucks County Natural Areas program, the State’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program, and a private foundation, as well as some township funding.
“We purchased it because we thought it would be a terrific area, primarily for trails,” said Wegard Holby, chair of the Bridgeton Board of Supervisors, who spearheaded the initiative for the township.
The township will create a planning process and committee to develop a comprehensive vision for the property, balancing environmental and public recreational uses. Development of a parking area and trail system is anticipated to be part of the preserve plan, along with possible tree planting and habitat restoration. Opportunities will exist for people to get involved in all these activities. The site includes ponds, woodland areas, natural springs, palisades, and mature, older-growth trees.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful place for people to go study nature, go on a hike, and just enjoy themselves,” said Jim Engel, Executive Director of the Tinicum Conservancy. “When a trail is completed, each part of this 100 acres will give people a different look.”
The property is close to both the Ringing Rocks Park and the newly established Pennsylvania Highlands Trail.
“We look forward to hearing from everyone who is interested in the future of this new preserve” said Mr. Holby, “We hope that once a plan is developed, people will lend a hand and help us make this a place where everyone can visit and enjoy.”