From the Desk of the President: Unusual Partnership Benefits All

Harry V. Webster, Jr, PresidentSince HLT’s early history, its founders and supporters have acted to preserve the health, beauty, and quality of life in the Deer Creek Watershed. In recent years, the HLT became a landowner on Deer Creek and a neighbor to the local residential and farm community, as well as H.P. White Laboratories, a munitions research and testing facility. The Harford Land Trust found itself in a unique position when our board was asked to evaluate H. P. White’s land and business situation as a result of the company’s request of a zoning change. The business wanted to expand its operations, and to do so, would require upzoning Agricultural (AG) zoned land to General Industrial (GI) zoning. The HLT board gathered information from local organizations, neighbors and people who care about the environment. We spoke with the landowners, investigated the property, and with the help of concerned members of the community, considered whether the zoning change would be positive.  HLT decided to take action.

Celebration of Success

HLT’s Celebration of Success on October 13, was itself a success with over $7,000 in contributions toward the next round of land preservation projects.  Active volunteers and supporters gathered at the cocktail hour at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum between the Concord Lighthouse and the waterfront Promenade, a venue representing Harford’s special assets of land and water.

In a pleasant, informal atmosphere the event centered on two of the Trust’s earliest successes, the acquisition and creation of the Forest Greens Lake Preserve and its best known and certainly most photographed preservation project, Kilgore Falls on Falling Branch.

There was special recognition for Penny and Brad Crothers whose family had played a leading role in the Forest Greens project. The late Ed Crothers and his wife Joyce had been so distressed by the possibility of destruction of their neighboring woodlands and wetlands that they personally had put down a payment on it to hold off development. The Perryman Community Association, in which they were a leading force, merged with the Forest Greens Community Association, and joined forces with the newly organized Harford Land Trust .  The resulting 103-acre preserve established in 1991, is now owned by Harford County as a “passive” park. 

In another interesting outcome from this project, Harry Webster, then an activist in the Forest Greens-Perryman Community Association, is now President of the Harford Land Trust.

Other special guests were Ellen and Rick Post, parents of Beth Post, who was a leader of the Ecology Club at North Harford High School that initiated the campaign to save Kilgore Falls , and Todd Grubb, then a student in the club and now a teacher in the Harford County school system.  The students were the heroes of a now familiar story,   raising $17,500 toward the purchase of the Falls with 500 identifiable donors and contributions ranging from $3 to $1,000. The State of Maryland contributed Program Open Space funds to take control of the falls in 1993, and the Ecology Club used its excess funds for the bridges and benches that now enhance the park for its many users.

Joining the celebration of HLT’s earliest projects were guests responsible for its most recent projects.  There were Harry Hopkins, his wife, Margaret (?),  and daughter, Peggy Bachman and her husband Tom, whose farm on Priestford Road was recently preserved in partnership with the Harford County government and the U.S. Army.  Graham and Louise Silsby were there.  Their beautiful 20-acre property, Raven Rock, on Deer Creek is the newest acquisition of the Trust.

Harry Webster presented an impressive collection of slides taken at natural areas preserved by Harford Land Trust.  Since success usually breeds success, one awaits the next celebration with anticipation.