Penn State “investigating” ways to conserve 365 acres PSU-owned land adjacent to Toll Brothers site

Via Penn State News

“Penn State President Eric Barron announced today (Dec. 11) the University is investigating ways to conserve land it owns roughly between Whitehall Road and Rothrock State Forest at Musser Gap, in Ferguson Township just outside of the University Park campus.

“Our vision for this area is to not only help protect the local water supply, plant and animal species, but also make it a place where people can enjoy nature, learn about the environment and be inspired,” Barron said.

The 365-acre property, which is being referred to as the Musser Gap to Valleylands (MG2V) site, includes the Musser Greenway Trail and is bordered by Rothrock State Forest and the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park.

As part of the work, the University is partnering with the ClearWater Conservancy, a non-profit organization that aims to conserve and restore the natural resources in central Pennsylvania, which will work with the community and seek input from local residents…”

For reference, this is most of the acreage that Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition and its precursors (Nittany Valley Water Coalition and a phalanx of loosely organized citizen activists) have been fighting since early 2015 to protect from the domino-effect of intensive land development set off by Penn State’s rezoning and sale of the 46 acres now under development by Toll Brothers for luxury student housing.

The most publicly-visible citizen action was the citizen occupation of the Toll Brothers site, which ran from June 3 through October 8, 2017, in an effort to engage Penn State and Toll Brothers in a land swap and keep the student housing development off the watershed.

Penn State evicted the occupiers on October 8, 2017, claiming that the land would be farmed in winter wheat while negotiations for the land swap proceeded. Then on December 21, 2017, after apparently rebuffing overtures from Toll Brothers executive Charles Elliot to engage in the land swap, Penn State closed the sale.