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07/18/2024 01:36 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=36428
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 28, 2021 03:10 PM
From: Representative Mary Jo Daley
To: All House members
Subject: Fort Washington State Park Land Exchange
 
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation authorizing a land exchange of two tracts of land located in Fort Washington State Park in Montgomery County.

One tract, which is long and narrow, is located along Stenton Avenue and the other tract is a small, isolated, triangular in shape, and is located along Wissahickon creek. Together, the two parcels contain roughly 9 acres of land and were acquired by the Commonwealth on November 15, 1920, from George D. Widener for the use and purpose of Fairmont Park.

Historical research indicates this this land was to be used for an equestrian trail connection from Fairmont Park to Fort Washington State Park. Since that time, the three previous landowners, George D. Widener, Fitz Eugene Dixon, and Peter McCausland, have used this property as pastoral lands with no clear delineation that any of it was state park lands. What’s more, the Bureau of State Parks has made multiple attempts to resolve the encroachment.  Those attempts have been unsuccessful.

Within the last two years, Montgomery County has approached the Bureau of State Parks regarding a possible trail route along Stenton Avenue. As an extension of the Wissahickon Green Ribbon Trail, Montgomery County proposes to construct, install and maintain this trail on state park land through an agreement with the Bureau. The Bureau already has an existing trail agreement with Montgomery County for the Wissahickon Green Ribbon Trail through Fort Washington State Park, and this extension will be added as part of that relationship.
The land exchange would be between three entities – Fort Washington State Park, Marsh Creek State Park and Erdenheim Farm with the following benefits:
  • Fort Washington State Parks: After nearly 100 years, a multi-use trail has been proposed for construction on the lands along Stenton Avenue. The trail project meets the intent of the 1920 deed from George D. Widener “for the use and purpose of Fairmont Park…”. In addition, the trail easement and the conservation easement will fulfill the intent of the original acquisition while protecting the land in perpetuity.
  • Marsh Creek State Park: The McCurdy parcel (570 Dorlan Mill Road, Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County) would be an asset to Marsh Creek State Park and to DCNR by providing additional open space in an area of the state that is rapidly becoming urbanized. It will also provide public access to Chester County’s Struble Trail as well as access to the park’s trail system where there is currently no public access.
  • Erdenheim Farm: this land exchange will allow the farm to use the residual property along Stenton Avenue for pastoral or farm purposes. The exchange will also secure the historical access points to the farm.
The Bureau of State Parks believes that this land exchange supports the original intent of the 1920 acquisition to build a trail that connects Fort Washington State Park to Fairmont Park and will benefit all parties invovled. 

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation for Montgomery County’s parks.
 



Introduced as HB2065