Northampton County Council will be asked to approve four open space preservation projects totaling about 380 acres at a cost of about $792,000.
Council's Open Space Committee recommended last week that council approve the projects as part of its commitment to preserve natural areas. Open Space Chairman Charles Dertinger said they could be considered in April.
Council approved a 0.5-mill tax hike starting this year to pay for open space, at the recommendation of County Executive John Stoffa. The tax would provide an estimated $3.5 million this year.
All of the properties under consideration are in areas of the county targeted for land preservation based on a variety of factors such as their topography, wildlife habitats and sensitive features.
Two of the properties in Williams Township are adjacent, which makes them attractive because one goal of the program is to build large masses of connected land.
The four tracts under consideration are:
The Horth property in Williams Township. This is the largest of the four. It is in a part of the county where it has the potential to be connected to other land that already has been or could be preserved. The property possesses several springs and a tributary to the Delaware River, and has an extensive cave system that provides bat habitats.
The McBrien property. It borders the Horth property. It is entirely forested and is on a rocky hillside with views of the Delaware River and bluffs of New Jersey.
The Heindel-Kirby property. This is the smallest of the four. It also is in Williams Township, near where several other properties already have been preserved.
The Charron property. It straddles Bushkill and Plainfield townships along the Blue Mountain. It is adjacent to state game lands and includes an abandoned Lehigh-New England railroad bed that has been proposed as a trail.