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Piszek Preserve

The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association has saved 36-acres of woodlands and meadows in Upper Dublin and Springfield Townships along Pennsylvania Avenue and the Sandy Run.

WVWA worked together with the Montgomery Lands Trust (MCLT) since 2004 to conserve the most sensitive natural areas of the historic 92-acre estate that has been the gateway to Oreland. Part of the land is now protected from future development in perpetuity and will soon be accessible to the public via hiking trails.

The Piszek family and the Copernicus Society, a foundation established by the family patriarch, Edward Piszek, patiently searched for a way to preserve the property. They generously donated the 33-acres of woodlands and meadows in Upper Dublin and Springfield Townships along Pennsylvania Avenue and the Sandy Run to WVWA in October 2013.   Additional funding to support the project was provided by Montgomery County, Upper Dublin and Springfield Townships.

“We thank the Piszek family for their enormous generosity and perseverance in allowing this beautiful property to be protected” said Carol DeLancey, WVWA’s Director of Development. “We are eager to begin work enhancing the trails and restoring the beautiful woodland and wetland habitats.”

In 2016, WVWA protected a 3-acre piece next to the Preserve, expanding it to 36 acres. The property was acquired with funding that was provided by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, WVWA and a generous donation from the Alan Gnessin. 

The Piszek Preserve is largely forested and bisected by the flood-prone Sandy Run; conservation of the land here will ensure perpetual protection of more than 1,000 feet of riparian buffer, which will help slow and re-absorb floodwaters.

The adjacent property includes a gracious colonial home known as the Emlen House. This 18th-century stone dwelling gained lasting fame when General George Washington used it as his headquarters in the winter of 1777. Other visitors to the property over the decades include human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II.

Song sparrows, white-breasted nuthatches, cardinals, robins, and many other beautiful bird species are common sights here, foraging beneath the trees and along Sandy Run.  Stay tuned for species updates as WVWA performs baseline inventories of this Preserve.

 


View Piszek Preserve in a larger map