Properties in Poconos protected from development

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Two more properties in the Poconos are now protected from development. Conservationists say this will benefit wildlife, drinking water and you.

The Nature Conservancy recently purchased and transferred both properties to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is part of an even bigger goal to protect an entire corridor.

Last fall, a 60-acre property along Larsens Lane in Cherry Valley was a soybean field. Now it’s protected.

“If it were developed like many properties are, it would have probably played host to a half dozen houses or so,” Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge manager Mike Horne said.

This entire property was bare soil just a few months ago. But with all the rain, it causes erosion issues. After the purchase, warm and cool season grasses were planted. Those grasses successfully took over.

“To help stabilized soil, to help prevent silt and other runoff from going into the Cherry Creek, and also to restore wildlife habitat here,” Horne said.

The goal is to eventually add a walking path and give fishermen access to the creek. The landowners also want local farmers to harvest the grasses.

“And use those as a forage for equestrian facilities or whatever the case may be,” Horne said.

The property, and another newly-protected one, border an already-preserved area, the Cherry Valley Wildlife Refuge, which is a former golf course.

“We’re trying to protect the corridor of the Cherry Creek,” Horne said.

The second newly-protected property is about 90 acres of forest. Both properties will be open to the public once restoration is complete and trails are added. That will take about a year.

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