Advance the protection and stewardship of open space, farmland, and natural and cultural features to realize economic, ecological, and quality of life benefits.
Preserving our farmlands, natural areas, and cultural resources is fundamental to protecting the county's quality of life, enhancing its economy, and maintaining the character that residents and visitors so highly value. Permanently protected lands limit development pressure on critical resources and often provide for public access offering people of all ages a place to connect to streams, woodlands, and wildlife.
Preservation of land often overlaps with preservation of cultural resources. Perhaps a centuries old industrial complex, a field that Revolutionary War soldiers fought upon, or a home that provided refuge as part of the Underground Railroad remains to reflect our shared history and engage residents and visitors.
A key component of expanding the network of protected open space is creating links between larger expanses of protected lands. Often in the form of stream or trail corridors, these links improve the ability of the overall network to withstand stresses, such as significant storm events or upstream development.
Across the coming decades, ensuring that protected open space and working lands are appropriately managed is critical. Restoration of degraded areas and practice of appropriate land stewardship is needed to ensure essential environmental functions such as flood mitigation, water recharge, and clean air, along with the continued health and well-being of our communities.