The Lancaster Conservancy has announced another addition to its inventory of protected woodland along the Susquehanna River.
The nonprofit land trust said it has arranged to acquire 300 acres in Hellam Township, York County. The site, known as “Roundtop,” is north of Wrightsville and abuts the eastern edge of the conservancy’s Wizard Ranch Nature Preserve.
Roundtop is part of the Hellam Hills Conservation Area, the largest contiguous forested area between Harrisburg, York and Lancaster. The conservancy’s addition of Roundtop will bring the total area under protection there to nearly 2,500 acres.
Besides conserving natural land and riparian buffers, “the property will protect incredible vistas on both the York and Lancaster County sides of the Susquehanna River and will serve as a link to a continuing landscape of protected lands and trails for hikers,” the conservancy said in a statement.
The acquisition consists of six parcels totaling 318 acres. One is part of the estate of June and Warren Evans, who were prominent community leaders and founders of the Eastern York County Smart Growth Coalition. June Evans was a professor at Millersville University.
The other five belong to Susquehanna Resources. According to state records, the company is a limited partnership owned by Susquehanna Advisors, a York-based private equity firm.
The planned transactions will cost more than $4 million, the conservancy said. It has received grant commitments totaling $687,000 from the Powder Mill Foundation and York County and plans to raise the rest of the money during 2023, with settlement planned in 2024. The property will not be open to the public until settlement is completed.
The conservancy has been extremely active in protecting land in the so-called “Susquehanna Riverlands” in Lancaster and York counties. Along with Wizard Ranch Nature Preserve, the conservancy owns Hellam Hills Nature Preserve to its west. To the west of the Hellam Hills preserve are 1,100 acres that are slated to become a state park.