Saturday, November 20, 2021

Gibble Family Partners With Lebanon Valley Conservancy To Protect 53 Acres In Lebanon County

This article appeared on the website November 5, 2021--

The Gibble Family partnered with the Lebanon Valley Conservancy to permanently protect 53 acres of forest land in Mount Gretna.  It was the site of the former Kauffman amusement park from the 1920s.

The property has been owned by Phares and Joan Gibble since 1960. Phares Gibble passed away in 1998, and Joan is currently in a care facility. Preservation of the property was handled by Ned Gibble, a nephew who lives in Mount Gretna and serves as Joan’s power of attorney.

“As power of attorney, I followed my aunt’s wishes. My aunt and uncle loved that land; they wanted it preserved,” Gibble said.

The land is close to state game lands. It borders the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail for approximately one mile along the northern edge, and it’s bordered by Route 117 on the south side.

On the other side of Route 117 is 1,000 acres of deciduous forest co-held by the County of Lebanon and the SICO Foundation.

The property is mostly forested and there are some wetlands as well as a residence. There are seven springs on the property, which feed into the Conewago Creek. 

The creek passes through the property from east to west and eventually to Conewago Lake (also known as Mount Gretna Lake), then continues west.

“This property is the eastern gateway to Mount Gretna. It helps to keep the character of Mount Gretna,” said Chuck Wertz, conservancy board member emeritus and co-owner of Wertz Candies.

Gibble, who also serves on the conservancy’s board, said his uncle was a naturalist and did studies on the property.

“He found a number of bog turtles on the property. He numbered each bog turtle and charted their movements. His research is housed in the archives at Lebanon Valley College,” Gibble explained.

He said that four generations of his family have camped on the Butler Road property. He took his grandchildren there for a camp-out this summer.

“Over the years my aunt had several offers by developers to buy the land. Putting the conservation easement on it preserves the land so it can’t be subdivided. That does reduce its value, but it’s the right thing to do, and it’s what she wanted,” he said.

While the property has a number of ties for his family, Gibble said the local community is interested in the land and its historical significance.

“This (the conservation easement) was a very generous donation by the Gibbles. It’s an important piece of land. There’s been a lot of development pressure in the Mount Gretna area,” said John Schach, Lebanon Valley Conservancy president.

He said the Gibble easement is the conservancy’s 13th easement since its founding in 2000. Since then about 1,000-acres of land has been conserved. By agreeing to a conservation easement, landowners waive their rights to develop the land in perpetuity.

“We want to be stewards of the natural land in the Lebanon Valley” he said. “Part of our mission also involves preserving land that has historical relevance.”

For more information on how to protect your land, upcoming events and more, visit the Lebanon Valley Conservancy website.


-- LebTown: Gibble Family Partners With The Lebanon Valley Conservancy To Protect 53-Acres In Mount Gretna 

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-- Lancaster Conservancy Preserves 130 Acres Of Forest Land In York County

-- Going, Going, Gone... Senate, House Have Little Time To Act On Funding For Local Flood Prevention, Watershed Restoration, Recreation Projects

[Posted: November 20, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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