The Chester County Department of Parks and Preservation is part of the Chester County Government, which is administered by a three person Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners constitutes the chief governing body that manages a large and diverse organization whose mission is to provide quality government services in an efficient, cost effective manner.
In August of 2019 the Board of Commissioners made the decision to realign the Parks Program from the Department of Facilities and Parks to join with the Department of Open Space Preservation. This merger created the Department of Parks and Preservation. This realignment supports a new focus on the programming and operations of the Parks and Trails and the continuation of the overwhelming successful and unique former Department of Open Space Preservation.
Parks + Trails History
Parks + Trails traces its origin to the Chester County Park and Recreation Board, formed in 1958 for the purpose of coordinating and promoting park and recreational facilities for Chester County. The Board began visiting and evaluating potential park sites in 1960 and made its first purchase in 1962. This parcel was dedicated as Nottingham County Park in 1963. Over 50 years later there are over 4,400 acres of County park lands and over 21 miles of County trails.
In 2010 The Chester County Facilities Department merged with the Parks and Recreation Department to become the Chester County Facilities and Parks Department.
The former Department of Open Space Preservation consisted of the Farmland Preservation Program and Preservation Partnership Program that facilitates dedicated County funds towards the permanent preservation of agricultural and open lands in Chester County. A program that was started over 30 years ago when in November of 1989, a $50 million Chester County Open Space Bond Referendum was passed by voters at 82%. Thirty years later Chester County conducted a “Quality of Life” citizen survey that revealed preservation of open space is still a significant and top priority of residents, second only to emergency services/9-1-1 system.