Chester County Marks Earth Day with Transformation of Golf Course into Public Park

Chester County Earth Day 2024 Former Loch Nairn Golf Club Transforms to Public ParkFrom left to right: Chester County Commissioner Eric Roe; Drew Gilchrist, Regional Advisor for the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Kate Raman, Project Manager for Natural Lands; David Unger, Chair, New Garden Township Board of Supervisors; Christopher Himes, New Garden Township Manager; Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Josh Maxwell; Ted Gallivan, New Garden Township Supervisor; Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz; State Representative Christina Sappey; and Dave Stauffer, Director, Chester County Parks + Preservation. /Submitted Image

NEW GARDEN TWP, PA — In a significant nod to Earth Day’s global call for environmental protection, Chester County officials, in partnership with state and local bodies, have embarked on a project that embodies the day’s spirit: converting the former Loch Nairn Golf Club into a public park. This initiative highlights the county’s longstanding commitment to preserving natural resources and promoting sustainability.

Yesterday, Chester County Commissioners Josh Maxwell, Marian Moskowitz, and Eric Roe, alongside New Garden Township officials, Representative Christina Sappey, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Natural Lands, toured the site earmarked for transformation. The move is part of a broader effort that has seen the county work tirelessly with a network of partners to safeguard land, water resources, and natural habitats.

“For many decades, those who love the natural beauty and resources of Chester County have committed to protecting them,” the commissioners stated, reflecting on the nearly four-decade-long legacy of conservation efforts in the area. The conversion of the Loch Nairn Golf Club is envisioned as a space that will offer environmental benefits such as improved water quality and floodwater absorption, while also providing recreational opportunities for the community.

The property, which includes a tributary to White Clay Creek—a waterway designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 2000—was preserved through collaborative efforts between the Smedley family, New Garden Township, and various funding partners. These partners include the Chester County Commissioners, the DCNR, and the Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation, among others. Natural Lands played a crucial role as a consultant, preparing the grant applications that made this preservation possible.

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This golf course-to-park project is a reflection of Chester County’s broader environmental strategy, which focuses on preserving agricultural land, enhancing park and recreation spaces, protecting significant natural areas, and encouraging the revitalization of developed regions. It signifies a commitment not just to the aesthetic and recreational value of the land but to its ecological and hydrological significance as well.

As of the last year, over 151,000 acres—or 31.1 percent—of Chester County’s land has been preserved, showcasing the county’s dedication to maintaining its natural beauty and resources for future generations. This latest project at the former Loch Nairn Golf Club serves as a tangible example of how communities can repurpose land to benefit both the environment and the public, aligning perfectly with the ethos of Earth Day and reinforcing the importance of proactive environmental stewardship.

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