Penn State has announced that it is “investigating ways to conserve” a 365-acre property between Rothrock State Park and the future Whitehall Road Regional Park.
That farmland could be home to passive uses like walking trails, under plans Penn State is developing with ClearWater Conservancy.
The university announced Tuesday it has committed to a passive-use, conservation-based approach for the property. A spokesman said the university plans to “return the land to a more natural state that helps to promote biodiversity and protect the water.”
The land includes the Musser Greenway Trail, which leads to Rothrock State Forest at Musser Gap. Penn State President Eric Barron said in a release the goal is to protect the local water supply, plants and animals and “make it a place where people can enjoy nature, learn about the environment and be inspired.”
Penn State’s sale of neighboring land to the developer Toll Brothers upset some in the community, concerned about the environmental impacts. Added to that were worries that it could open the door to even more development.
Some of the property the university is looking at conserving now is currently leased farmland. Penn State said it has been in contact with the tenant farmers, and there will be advance notice for any changes.
ClearWater will be holding community forums on the project, starting with one at 6 p.m. Jan. 31, 2019, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in State College.