Category Archives: Hopewell Big Woods

Report on Important Resources and Pipeline Impacts

Hopewell Big Woods Pipeline Report

Hopewell Big Woods Pipeline Report

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.


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Right through the heart

The Reading Eagle recently wrote about the Commonwealth Pipeline’s path through Berks and Chester County. The article, Right through the heart, indicated that county commissioners want to give access to natural gas service to business owners in northern Berks county along I-78. However to the south along the Berks-Chester county line there is a different point of view that sees the pipeline as a threat to the integrity of an important conservation area.

Supervisors from 6 townships meet on pipeline

On February 20 at Warwick Township, Supervisors from Warwick, East Nantmeal, West Vincent, Union, North Coventry, and South Coventry Townships; County Commissioners Ryan Costello and Terence Farrell; State Rep. Tim Hennessey; representatives from the offices of Senator Rafferty and Congressmen Gerlach and Meehan, as well as representatives from Natural Lands Trust, French & Pickering Conservation Trust, and Green Valleys Assoc. met in a public meeting to discuss the Commonwealth Pipeline project and how to deal with it.

Four of the six townships, including East Nantmeal, have already passed  resolutions objecting to the pipeline as currently proposed in their communities, with the remaining two townships still studying the issues, but expected to follow suit.

There was general agreement among the group that the best initial strategy is to use a coalition approach, with officials on all levels (local, county, and state) contributing as much as they can individually in a multi-pronged fashion. It was also requested that the environmental experts of the land trusts determine the specific impacts that this proposed pipeline would present, particularly as it would run through the Hopewell Big Woods, so that data can be used to strengthen arguments when interacting with the pipeline company and FERC.

Continued education to increase public awareness was acknowledged as an imperative.

While agreeing that stopping pipelines generally is unlikely, the group was optimistic that working together it might be possible to get the company to change the pipeline route away from the ecologically sensitive Hopewell Big Woods area, and into existing ROWs.

Another meeting of the group will be scheduled once the environmental experts assess the impact that the current route would have on our communities.


Hopewell Big Woods At Risk

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.

Please be sure to attend a short film on the Hopewell Big Woods being shown at Owen J. Roberts High School on February 16, 2013, at 9:30 AM. This precedes Carolyn Elefant’s presentation Knowing and Protecting Your Rights When an Interstate Gas Pipeline Comes to Your Community at 10 AM.


Stream Crossings

If you have Google Earth, you can load this data file showing the proposed Commonwealth Pipeline path and the 18 Exceptional Value or High Quality streams in our area that it would cross.

Click on this link and open the data in Google Earth

It is vital that these streams remain protected and that the DEP holds the pipeline company to the standards that regulate crossing our EV and HQ streams.