Lower Saucon Township officials announced Monday that the township’s purchase of the former Woodland Hills Golf Course on Lower Saucon Road was finalized Oct. 31.
The majority of the defunct 148-acre golf club “was acquired as open space and will be allowed to revert to its natural state with no plans for the construction of any active recreation features or facilities on the property,” the township stated in a news release.
An approximately six-acre parcel that includes the former clubhouse was subdivided, and could become home to a Hindu temple, according to comments made by township officials at a recent township council meeting.
Access to the new recreational area will be from Countryside Lane, “and grass trails on the property will allow visitors to hike, bird watch and enjoy the natural beauty of the tract,” the release also stated.
Funding for the purchase came from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ($742,000), the Northampton County Open Space Fund ($300,000) and the township’s own reserve of open space funds, which has grown thanks to a concerted effort on the part of residents and officials to prevent more land from being developed.
That effort was given a boost in November 2006, when Lower Saucon voters approved a referendum to increase the township’s Earned Income Tax by a quarter of one percent, with the additional funding dedicated to open space preservation.
According to officials, the acquisition of the Woodland Hills property brings the total amount of preserved open space in Lower Saucon Township to more than 541 acres.
Additional information about open space preservation in Lower Saucon can be found in a letter by township council president Ron Horiszny that appears in the Fall 2014 edition of the township’s newsletter.
“Land can be preserved through conservation easement sales and donations; through fee simple acquisitions by the Township, or by land donations that provide substantial charitable tax deductions,” Horiszny said.
“The Township’s Environmental Advisory Council, through their Open Space Sub-Committee and Open Space Consultants at Heritage Conservancy, will work
with landowners to determine the best method of ensuring the lasting conservation of their property,” he added.
Anyone interested in learning more about open space preservation can can contact the township via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.