Partnership effort to preserve forestland and rich history
Just outside of Strasburg, Virginia, the Bullard farm is rich with historic and ecological value. This February it was permanently protected by a conservation easement, a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that restricts some land uses and preserves a property’s inherent conservation value.
Lying within the borders of the Bullard property are parts of the Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek Civil War battlefields. Some of the property’s stone structures date back to the 1820s, meaning they survived the battles that raged across the fields. Adding to this historic significance are beautiful and beneficial environmental features. Of the nearly 200-acre property, 155 acres are native forest, complete with two miles of streamside tree buffers along two tributaries and a stream called Mulberry Run that play an important role in providing clean water to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River just a short distance downhill.
It can take a village to preserve such a treasured place. Nearly 50 people, including the Bullard family and Potomac Conservancy staff, worked together to protect this special land for generations to come. (Potomac Conservancy Lands Director, Emily Warner, and the Bullard Family on closing day.)
The easement restrictions won’t stop the family from improving the land—a pick-your-own pumpkin patch may be on the horizon!—but thanks to the Bullard family’s conservation efforts the land will maintain its unique history for generations to come.
The protection of the Bullard family farm shows the value of the partnership approach of the Shenandoah Valley Conservation Collaborative (SVCC). Partner Emily Warner at Potomac Conservancy applied for grant funding and worked out the easement terms with the Bullards. John Hutchinson, then at Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, helped Emily navigate funding sources for historic resource protection. The Alliance secured bridge funding for final transaction costs from our new revolving loan fund.
The SVCC brings together these terrific partners that have been doing land protection and clean water work in the region for years. Now as a formal partnership, we have access to shared expertise and new tools to help landowners like the Bullards achieve their conservation goals. ~Emily