HELLAM TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lancaster Conservancy announced earlier today their plan to acquire and preserve over 300 acres of land along the Susquehanna River in York County.

According to the Conservancy, this plan involves the acquiring of an area that has historically been referred to as ‘Roundtop’, which is located north of Wrightsville and the Rt. 30 bridge.

Additionally, this 266-acre parcel runs adjacent to the Conservancy’s Hellam Hills and Wizard Ranch nature preserves, as well as the new Susquehanna Riverlands State Park that the Conservancy helped to protect back in 2022.

Additionally, this plan includes acquiring a second parcel of land, which is known as the estate of two local conservationists, June and Warren Evans. The acquisition of the Evans land includes 52 acres of land with old-growth forests and rock overlooks in Hellam Township.

“Roundtop is a critical connector piece for both wildlife and humans within the incredible Hellam Hills landscape of the Lower Susquehanna,” Kate Gonick, Senior Vice President of Land Protection and General Counsel at the Lancaster Conservancy said.

The acquiring of these lands is critical for the health of waterways and local streams, and habitats for fish, plants, and other animals. According to the Conservancy, this acquisition will also serve as a link for a continuing landscape of protected lands, and trails for hikers.

This land acquisition plan is estimated to cost the Conservancy over $4 million – the Conservancy plans to raise the funds over the next year through grants and private donations.

To date, the Conservancy has already received a total of $687,000 from the Powder Mill Foundation, York County Open Space, and a Land Preservation Grant.

“As the Conservancy protects and restores the York Susquehanna Riverlands, we are protecting this amazing river gorge forever,” Conservancy President and CEO Phil Wenger said. “We are excited to invite major York donors to invest in this landscape to match our public grants and save these amazing forests.”

The land settlements are expected to occur in 2024, and until the Conservancy has fully acquired Roundtop, the property is closed to the public.

According to the Conservancy, they were founded back in 1969, and has since helped to protect over 10,000 acres of natural land.