An important victory was the conservation of five contiguous parcels owned by George and Patricia Kaufman, committed partners in the effort to expand the protected area. The agreement between the Kaufmans, Natural Lands, and Montgomery County Lands Trust (since merged with Natural Lands) permanently preserved 76 acres along Unami Creek. Purchase of the development rights was made possible by an Environmental Stewardship Fund grant, with additional funding provided by the Bucks County Open Space Program. For future monitoring of the easement, the Kaufmans generously donated stewardship funds to Natural Lands.
An easement on the Kaufman land protects 2,000 feet of mature, forested riparian buffer along Unami Creek, which is classified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as a high-quality stream. Since one quarter of the property is within the Unami Creek floodplain, protection of the land helps limit runoff and abate flooding.
The 76 protected acres are part of a larger block of contiguous forestland that includes the Musser Scout Reservation, 1,197 previously protected through a conservation easement. Although the Kaufman parcels do not currently connect to Musser, Natural Lands is working to secure the conservation of other key parcels that may lead to a future, permanent connection.
When the Kaufman property were protected, Drew Gilchrist (then of Natural Lands) called it “a keystone in the conservation mosaic of the Unami Forest.” Jake Lea of Montgomery County Lands Trust noted that “this project had everything—enthusiastic landowners, willing grantors, and a property with magnificent natural resources.”