CHADDS FORD, PA — Brinton Run Preserve is celebrating its one-year anniversary as a public preserve, a place where neighbors and visitors can hike, enjoy nature, and learn about history.
The North American Land Trust (NALT) purchased the 71-acre historic site, which had been sought by developers, and opened it to the public in summer 2022. American and British forces fought in its surrounding fields during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.
Now, the battlefield and its natural resources at Brinton Run Preserve will be protected forever.
Steve Carter, NALT president, said his conservation team immediately recognized the historic and environmental value of the property and set out to raise the funds to protect the land.
“There is open space. There are forests. There are riparian habitats. There are streams. There is also this really important cultural history,” Carter said. “There are so many elements to this property that make it so special.”
In the past year, NALT has welcomed hundreds of visitors to Brinton Run Preserve. The preserve is open from sunrise to sunset and features hiking paths through the historic fields on the battlefield site.
In May, Brinton Run Preserve held its first volunteer day at the preserve, where nearly 60 neighbors, supporters and friends helped plant more than 400 native trees and shrubs along the preserve’s rolling hills. NALT received a $5,000 grant from Keep PA Beautiful and the GIANT company to purchase the trees. The trees were supplied by Octoraro Native Plant Nursery in Lancaster County.
In April, Brinton Run Preserve hosted the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania for an educational program at the preserve. NALT previously signed a “Treaty of Renewed Friendship” that acknowledges the Lenape as the original inhabitants of Pennsylvania and indigenous stewards of the land. NALT plans to hold future cultural and educational programs at the preserve.
In the past year, NALT team members and volunteers seeded 24 acres of fields at Brinton Run Preserve to create a pollinator habitat. NALT teamed with The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund in its “Seed A Legacy” program, which partners with private, public and corporate lands to establish and manage pollinator habitat.
The effort to save the property began in 2019 when Sandra Baldino approached NALT to discuss acquiring the property for a public preserve. NALT was able to raise more than $4 million to purchase the property with the financial support from the American Battlefield Trust, Chadds Ford Township, Delaware County’s Open Space and Recreation Grant Program, Mt. Cuba Center, the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Program, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“We are very grateful for this amazing partnership that allowed us to protect the historic battlefield and create a nature preserve that can be enjoyed by future generations,” Carter said.
Carter said Brinton Run Preserve is a work in progress. He said the NALT team is planning to add an education center, where visitors can learn about the region’s history and ecology. Please consider volunteering or donating to Brinton Run Preserve at: https://northamericanlandtrust.org/donate/.