At the request of East Nantmeal, North Coventry, South Coventry, Union, Warwick, and West Vincent Townships, Natural Land Trust, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and Green Valleys Association have compiled a summary of the important natural, recreational, and historical resources in the Hopewell Big Woods. The report also provides information about the potential impacts of the proposed Commonwealth Pipeline or any other future utility rights-of-way that would pass through the landscape.
So where are we on the Commonwealth gas pipeline that first came to light last fall as a threat to our community? We have been hearing reports since December that the project was “temporarily deferred,” but Commonwealth’s website indicated that the project was still a go. That has changed. The website now reports that “The sponsors of Commonwealth Pipeline have suspended development of the project. We will be updating the website periodically to provide current information regarding the project’s status.” This is very good news, but, while now official, a “suspension” is obviously not the end.
The Eastern Seaboard Highlands encompass a forested area running from Connecticut to the southern sections of Pennsylvania. Within this greater forest, at the headwaters of two Exceptional Value streams, lies the Hopewell Big Woods, an expanse of more than 73,000 acres, or 110 square miles. And the last unbroken forest in southeastern Pennsylvania. This area acts as a natural filter, cleansing southeastern Pennsylvania’s air and water. Home to hundreds of plant species and important bird areas, the Hopewell Big Woods contains significant historic resources, cultural attractions and recreational activities.
Thirty-seven organizations including federal and state agencies, local municipalities and several nonprofit groups have joined together in partnership to conserve and maintain the integrity of over 4,000 acres of old-growth forest, 15,000 acres of unbroken forest, the watersheds and rare species supported by this forest. As currently proposed, the Commonwealth pipeline cuts a wide swath through the Big Woods.