For Immediate Release
July 28, 2020
Lake Erie Region Conservancy and the Hagen History Center Conserve 84.5 Acres
Nature Enthusiasts and Wildlife to Benefit from Investment In Recreation & Community Revitalization
(GIRARD, PA) – The Lake Erie Region Conservancy (LERC) proudly announces that it has conserved an additional 84.5 acres in Erie County. This newest acquisition is a conservation easement by LERC from the Erie County Historical Society, now doing business as the Hagen History Center (HHC), on the historic Battles Farm Trust property located along Walnut Street/Tannery Road in both Girard Borough and Township.
The Battles Farm, owned and overseen by HHC, is currently open to the public and recognized as a historically important cultural and agricultural site. Established in the 1860s, the original 300-acre farm produced potatoes, corn, wheat, and barley, and nut trees, grapes, and a fruit orchard once flourished.
Today, only 131 of the 300 acres remain part of the Battles Farm. The other 169 acres were sold or developed over past decades. This conservation easement will preserve 84.5 of the remaining acres. Efforts to conserve the remaining ~40 acres of farmland are being discussed at this time.
The farm hosts a mature and diverse woodland of native trees, along with a more recently planted grove of American Chestnut. Visitors can explore the conserved area via a modest walking trail. Trailhead signage encouraging responsible stewardship of the property, along with a tree identification pamphlet, help to educate visitors about the natural beauty, trees, and wildlife that live there. New signage crediting this project is to be installed soon.
Funding for this project comes from DCNR and the Erie Insurance Giving Network, with donation value match from HHC. Technical assistance was provided by the Pennsylvania Sea Grant Program. “The Battles Farm acquisition will protect the property from being subdivided, fragmented or developed, which benefits the local community, economy, water quality of Elk Creek, and wildlife,” said David Skellie, LERC Board President and PA Sea Grant’s Coastal Land Use Specialist.
Regarding this new agreement, HHC Executive Director George Deutsch commented, “With the Conservation Easement, the Board of the Erie County Historical Society renewed our commitment to the legacy of Ms. Charlotte Elizabeth Battles to preserve the property for future generations. The history of the Battles family runs deep in Girard and all of Erie County, and we are proud to be the stewards of the Battles Trust.”
With the addition of the Battles Farm, LERC now holds 5 perpetual Conservation Easements that protect 226.5 acres. Those 5 CEs have a value of $2,262,509. Currently LERC also owns 9 tracts of land in the PA Lake Erie watershed totaling 208 acres outright and having a value of $1.3 million. LERC has also transferred 263 acres to two governmental organizations (Jenks to PA Game Commission (2008); Gilmore Farm (part) to PA Fish and Boat Commission (2019). These two transfers have a value of $1,119,506. Together these 16 projects have a combined value of $4,682,015.
Through these conservation efforts, LERC connects people to nature by protecting and enhancing open space, waterways and forests. “In addition to the perpetual protection benefits, conservation projects will also ensure that current and future generations can enjoy visiting the properties for nature-based recreation via walking trails and creek access” Skellie said.
If you are interested in conserving your property or learning more about LERC, please contact lakeerieregionconservancy.org.